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Chapter 7

PSYB10 Chapter 7 Conformity

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 7 Conformity Conformity  Change in behaviour due to the real or imagined influence of other people - Implicit social influence  Influence caused by increasing the accessibility of social beliefs in working memory o Typically occurs outside of awareness o E.g. The “unbearable automaticity of being” study  Primed half of the elderly with elderly stereotypic words  Primed half of the elderly with neutral words  Walking speed was influenced by increasing the stereotype of elderly people - Informational social influence  Influence of other people that leads us to conform because we see them as a source of information to guide our behaviour o Mass psychogenic illness  The occurrence of similar physical symptoms in a group of people with no known cause  E.g. everyone in medical school thinks they have the disease that was taught one week ago o Contagion  The rapid transmission of emotions or behaviour through a crowd  E.g. War of the Worlds broadcasting the invasion of aliens o E.g. Sherif’s dot studies  Relied on the autokinetic effect  Saccade is when your eyes jump back and forth constantly, which contributes to depth perception  Due to saccade, a single, unmoving point appears to move when you stare at it for a while  Conformity with group over time  If two people are giving a consistent estimate with each other, then they must know something that we don’t  You don’t really know how far the dot is moving o Factors that increase informational social influence  More likely to look to others for cues in:  Ambiguous situations  Situations of crisis  When you have reason to believe other people are experts o Resisting informational social influence  Look for non-human evidence  Try to avoid the desire to maintain consistency  If something is wrong, then be the one who speaks out - Normative social influence  Influence of other people that leads us to conform because we want to be liked and accepted o Caused by:  Social norms  The implicit or explicit rules of a group about acceptable behaviours, values, and beliefs about its members o E.g. Asch’s lines  80% of participants conformed in 1 or more trials to the all the actors giving the incorrect answer  People are concerned about looking foolish in front of complete strangers o E.g. fMRI of brain activity  Conform  Activity in the posterior brain areas dedicated to vision and perception  No conform  Activity in the amygdala dedicated to negative emotions and the right caudate nucleus dedicated to modulating social behaviour  This supports the idea that normative social influence is caused by people feeling negative emotions when they stand up for their beliefs o Social impact theory  The study of factors that increase conformity based on normative social influence  How do people believe obvious lies?  Strength  The group is important to you  Immediacy  The group is tempo
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