Stephanie Oliveira 1
Module 44: Social influence
Called the chameleon effect
o Demonstrated by Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh in experiment.
o Students worked alongside a confederate working for an
If he rubbed his face, the other students rubbed their face, too
Helps us to emphasize (to feel what others are feeling)
o Explains why we feel happier around happier around happy people
than around depressed people.
o Studies of groups of British nurses and accountants have revealed
mood linage—sharing up and down moods
o Empathetic mimicking fosters fondness
o Can lead to tragedies
Ex: # of suicides went up after Marilyn Monroe’s highly
Conformity and Social Norms
Conformity: adjusting our behaviour or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
Solomon Asch devised an experiment that asked the group to state, one by
one, which of the three lines are identical to the standard line.
o When other people are told to say an incorrect answer, more than one
third of the time the subject went along with the group
We are more likely to conform when we:
o Are made to feel incompetent or insecure
o Are in a group with at least 3 people
o Are in a group in which everyone else agrees
o Admire the groups status and attractiveness
o Have not made a prior commitment to any response
o Are from a culture that strongly encourages respect for social
Conformity rates are lower in individualist cultures.
Normative social influence: influence resulting from person’s desire to gain
approval or avoid disapproval
Explains why we conform
To avoid rejection or to gain social approval
Informational social influence: influence resulting from one’s willingness to
accept others’ opinions about reality
Explains why we conform
We want to be accurate
Rebecca Denton set the record for the furthest distance driven on the wrong
side of a British divided highway
o She thought the other drivers were all one the wrong side of the road. Obedience: Following Orders
Famous experiment by Stanley Milgram
o Used the foot in the door technique to make people shock up to a
deadly amount of voltage
o Shocking because most people actually did deliver the shock when
asked to, even thought the actor groaned and screamed
Obedience is highest when:
o The person giving the orders was close hand and was perceived to be
legitimate authority figure
o The authority figure was supported by a prestigious institution
o The victim was depersonalized or at a distance, even in another room
o There were no role models for defiance.
Holocaust= when obedience was bad
Birkenhead ship on which soldiers stood still to allow passengers off the boat
in calm= when obedience was good.
Lessons from t