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Chapter 7

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University of Toronto St. George
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 7: Conformity- Influencing Others CONFORMITY: WHEN AND WHY Conformity: change in behaviour as a result of the real or imagined influence of other people INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE: THE NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S “RIGHT” Informational social influence: conforming because we believe that others’ interpretation of an uncertain situation is more correct than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action Autokinetic effect: looked as if object was moving because of visual illusion Private acceptance: conforming to other people’s behaviour out of a genuine belief that what they are doing or saying is right Public compliance: conforming to other people’s behaviour publicly, without necessarily believing in what they are doing or saying Situations in which people will conform to informational social influence: Ambiguous  When you’re unsure of the correct response, the appropriate behaviour, or the right idea, you will be most open to influence from others Crisis  During a crisis, we usually don’t have time to stop and think about exactly which course of action we should take  We need to act and act now  We feel scared and panicky, and are uncertain what to do  Contagion: rapid transmission of emotions or behaviour through a crowd When other people are experts  Typically the more expertise or knowledge a person has, the more valuable he or she will be as a guide in an ambiguous or crisis situation Mass psychogenic illness: occurrence of similar physical symptoms in a group of people for which there is no known physical or medical cause NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE: THE NEED TO BE ACCEPTED Normative social influence: influence of other people that leads is to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them (results in public compliance by not necessarily with private acceptance of the group’s beliefs and behaviours) Normative pressures usually result in public compliance without private acceptance- people go along with the group even if they don’t believe in what they are doing or think it is wrong Having an ally helps us resist normative pressures Social impact theory – the likelihood that you will respond to social influence from other people depends on 3 variables: Strength- how important is the group to you? Immediacy- How close is the group to you in space and time during the influence attempt? Number- how many people are in the group? (as the size of the group increases, each additional person has less of an influencing effect) Conditions in which people will conform to normative social pressures: When the group size is 3 or more  Although conformity pressures generally increase as the size of the majority increases, conformity pressures peak once the majority reaches about 4 or 5 in number When the group is important  The strength of the group and how important it is to us  To feel accepted, will conform to the majority in terms of dress, speech, or behaviour When the group is unanimous  Everyone in the group says or believes the same thing  Having at least 1 person agree with you helped resist normative pressures Gender differences in conformity  Women are more conforming than men  Women are taught to be more agreeable and social  Men are taught to be more independent in the face of direct social pressures  The gender of
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