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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Social Psych.docx

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Psychology 2070A/B
Kelly Olson

Chapter 8: Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience  There 3 kinds of Social Influence: o Conformity: Any change in behaviour caused by another person or group.  Example: A spectator at a hockey game might boo the referee because others are.  NOTE: Conformity is limited to changes in behaviour caused by other people; it does NOT refer to effects of other people on internal concepts like attitudes and beliefs. o Compliance: A change in behaviour that is requested by another person or group.  They could of accepted or declined the request  Example: During an election campaign, a supporter of the NDP might agree to put a sign on her lawn supporting the NDP candidate in her riding because she was asked to do so by a party official. o Obedience: A change in behaviour that is ordered by another person or group.  Failing to obey was not present as an option, but may have been considered by the individual.  Example: A child may be ordered by a parent to go clean their bedroom.  People are often susceptible to listen to obedience by an authority figure.  Conformity encompasses compliance and obedience because it refers to any behaviour that occurs as a result of others’ influence (no matter what the nature of that influence).  For example, there may not have been any request or order given to the individual; the behaviour may have occurred because the person copied, learned from, wanted to impress, or was in some other way influenced by another person.  Compliance and obedience refers to behaviour that resulted specifically from requests or orders.  NOTE: Although conformity encompasses both these aspects, we will only refer to it when behaviours are influenced by requests or orders in this section. We will refer to action that are caused by “doing as others do.” o This kind of conformity occurs because when we face new or unusual situations, it’s natural to look to others in deciding what you do (in order not to feel stupid, especially when the situation is ambiguous and uncertain about your decision). Other people may have more experience, or more information, or better skills than you do. o Sometimes we end up complying to things we don’t necessarily agree with, but do it because everyone else is. Why Do We Conform?  Conforming behaviours occur for 2 reasons, which are captured by the terms informational influence and normative influence. o Informational Influence: Occurs when people are influenced by others because of a desire to be correct and to obtain valid information.  This kind of influence reflects that people often rely on others as a source of information – they trust other’s judgments to be useful in a particular context.  Ex: When young drivers alter their behaviour to conform to the suggestions of their driving instructor.  Or, perhaps the judgment is ambiguous and the person is unsure about the correct answer, such as when contestants on The Price is Right use audience reactions to guide their estimate of the price of an item. o Normative Influence: Occurs when people are influenced by others to gain rewards or avoid punishment.  They might not necessarily think that others’ judgments or behaviours are correct; they simply want to be liked or to avoid conflict.  Example: People sometimes obey laws simply to avoid being punished, such as driving at the speed limit but would rather over-speed.  Example: When teenagers conform to certain words, deeds, or appearances to popular peers whom they hope to befriend.  Informational and normative influence can occur simultaneously. CONFORMITY: DOING AS OTHERS DO Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect Studies  Muzafer Sherif conceptualized his research on conformity as addressing the development of social norms (a source of conformity).  Social Norms: A rule or guideline in a group or culture about what behaviours are proper and improper.  Norms can be formal (laws, contracts); or, it can be informal (customs, traditions) within groups like family and peers.  The reward for following a social norm is social acceptance (approval).  The punishment for NOT following a social norm is social rejection (disapproval).  Social norms govern the way we dress, speak, and behave. The Autokinetic Effect  Autokinetic Effect: In a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to movie periodically.  This occurs partly because no other frame of reference is available to locate the light, and also partly because of the occasional rapid movements of your eye. o In one of Sherif’s studies, it was seen that in a group environment, the difference between people’s judgment of the light movement was very similar.  This supports the claim of conformity (people conformed to have difference in light movement close to another person’s difference). o After judging as a group, individuals were split and the test was repeated. It was seen that difference correlated with the differences from the prior group test.  This proved that group norms are spontaneously established and carry over to individual judgments. Multigenerational Norms  Many norms have been around for a long time; they’ve been passed down through generations. Norms can persist long after their original instigators are gone Asch’s Length Judgment Series – (read pgs. 291-292)  Individuals had conformed to the group’s unanimous incorrect answer, when they knew the correct answer.  Summary: ~80% individuals conformed to group’s answers (matching the length of a line to the original length); supports conformity pressure. The Crutchfield Apparatus  Crutchfield Apparatus: A machine that consist of an electrical panel with several rows of lights; it allows the efficient study of conformity by stimulating the responses of numerous hypothetical participants. Nature of the Task  Conformity is more likely when tasks are AMBIGUOUS. o I.e. In a math problem with no solution, participants unanimously provided the same incorrect answer (similar to the autokinetic effect).  Conformity is also influenced by the DIFFICULITY of the task. NOTE:  On ambiguous and difficult tasks (i.e. Sherif’s studies), other people’s responses exert both informational AND normative influence.  On clear and easy tasks (i.e. Asch’s studies), ONLY normative influence occurs. Individual Differences  Not everyone conforms. (i.e. ~20% in Asch’s study).  These people stay independent and are somewhat higher in their motivation to achieve and in their leadership ability than those people who conform.  Also, people who are independent tend to be less concerned about obtaining the approval of others, are less authoritarian, and less conscientious.  There is also evidence that people with high self-esteem are LESS likely to conform than individuals with low self-esteem, especially when high self-esteem is based on intrinsic qualities (honesty, generosity) as apposed to extrinsic things (achievements).  In summary: A strong sense of self is associated with remaining independent, as reflected in such qualities as high self-esteem, high motivation to achieve, high leadership ability, and minimal concerns about other’s approval.  Lastly, conformity DECREASES as age increases (after 18 years old). Effects of Group Size  Conformity INCREASED as the size of the majority increased. However, the size increase had little or no effect after the group size was 4 or 5.  NOTE: This study was not conducted in very large groups (i.e. 20+). But, it seems that larger groups do increase conformity than small groups. How to Make Conformity Disappear  2 methods to reduce conformity: o 1) In Asch’s alternate study, the critical participant wrote their answer down instead of blurting it out like the other alleged participants. This resulted in less normative influence. o 2) In another alternate study, one of the confederates (alleged participant) deviated from the unanimous incorrect answer to the correct answer. This response agreed with the critical participant and resulted in less normative influence (thus, less conformity) Cultural Differences in Conformity Individualism vs. Collectivism  Individualistic countries showed LESS conformity than collectivistic countries. Individualistic countries are more independent, and thus will be less likely to conform. Individual Differences in Independent vs. Interdependent Self-Concepts  People from individualistic cultures tend to have independent self-concepts, whereas those from collectivistic cultures tend to have interdependent self-concepts.  People vary in self-concept within their own culture. Gender Differences in Conformity  When responses are private, women do NOT conform more than men.  When responses are public, women do conform more than men (women are more susceptible to normative influence).  However, there isn’t a very clear distinction yet. COMPLIANCE: DOING AS OTHERS WANT  Sometimes our behaviour is influenced by direct requests from other people, a type of conformity called compliance.  Requestors typically imp
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