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Chapter 8-13

Textbook notes chapters 8-13

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Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter 8Conformity Compliance and Obedience In this chapter we reviewed social psychology research on three kinds of social influence Conformity refers to any change in behaviour caused by another person or group Compliance refers to a change in behaviour that is requested by another person or group Obedience refers to a change in behaviour that is ordered by another person or group Conformity is the most general of these concepts and encompasses compliance and obedience Conforming behaviours happen for two main reasons 1 Informational influence occurs when people are influenced by others because of a desire to be correct and obtain valuable information 2 Normative influence occurs when people are influenced by others to gain rewards or avoid punishment These kinds of influence can occur simultaneously People sometimes go along with the behaviour of others because of social normssocially defined standards of proper and improper behaviour In a series of studies Muzafer Sherif used the Autokinetic effect to study the emergence of norms The Autokinetic effect refers to the fact that in a darkened room a stationary point of light will appear to move When asked to estimate the amount of movement of the lightan ambiguous taskpeople are influenced by the responses of others and norms that emerge in groups are maintained when members respond individually Solomon Asch studied conformity on a task in which the correct answer was obvious Participants often conformed on a line judgment task when several experimental confederates had unanimously given the same clearly incorrect answerRichard Crutchfield developed the Crutchfield apparatus to study conformity more efficiently than using Aschs original procedure The Crutchfield apparatus consists of an electrical panel with several rows of lights it allows the efficient study of conformity by stimulating the responses of numerous hypothetical participants Each of 5 participants controls a row of lights 5 rows of 11 lights and one row of 11 switches y Participants are told that they will answer questions projected on the wall so everyone can see it at the same time y They are also told that as each person indicates their response by throwing one of the 11 switches a corresponding light will be illuminatedy Each participant believes they will learn the responses of others and that their responses will be publicly knowny I reality the experimenter controls all of the lights and is able to stimulate patterns involving a wrong but unanimous majority Conformity researchers found that y Conformity was greater when tasks were ambiguous and difficulty Conformity also increased with larger groups but only up to about four or five membersy Studies in different cultures have yielded higher rates of conformity in collectivist cultures than in individualist culturesy Researchers have also uncovered a small gender difference with women tending to conform somewhat more than men but only when responses are public A variety of compliance techniques have been identifiedJonathan Freedman developed the footinthedoor technique a strategy to increase compliance based on the fact that agreement with a small request increases the likelihood of agreement with a larger requestIt reflects that agreement to a small request results in higher rates of agreement to a subsequent larger request This technique may rely on selfperception processes andor a desire for consistency Researchers went door to door to home owners and asked if the residents would be willing to have a large Drive Carefully sign installed in their front yards This was the much larger request When the large request was made without any other initial contact only 16 of the homeowners agreed But other residents were first contacted and asked much smaller requests ie signing a petition or a much smaller sign When the large request was made two weeks later more than 55 of the residents agreed to itThus the initial contact and smaller request the foot in the door dramatically increased compliance Robert Cialdini wondered if the opposite of the foot in the door could happen which led to the doorintheface technique This reflects that refusal of a very large request results in higher rates of agreement to a subsequent smaller request This technique probably relies of the norm of reciprocity which is that we should reciprocate favours done for us Students were approached on a university campus and asked if they would be willing to accompany a group of juvenile delinquents on a two hour trip to the zoo For some students this was the only request they received As expected most declined only 16 agreed For other students this request had been preceded by an even larger request would they be willing to serve as a counselor to juvenile delinquents for at least two years No one agreed to the initial large request but when it was followed by the smaller 50 of the students agreed to the smaller request When someone presents a second smaller request following refusal of a large request this second request may be seen as a concession on their parta compromise in response to the initial refusal The freegift technique also relies on the norm of reciprocity it involves giving someone a small gift in order to increase the likelihood that he or she will comply with a subsequent request Dennis Regan illustrated how the freegift technique can be used to gain compliance In the favour condition of the experiment the confederate went to get a soda and returned with an extra soda for the unsuspecting student In the nofavour condition the confederate left the room for the same amount of time but returned with nothing When the main part of the study was over the confederate asked the nave student to purchase some raffle tickets Presumably feeling the need to return the earlier favour of the free soda student in the favour condition responded by purchasing nearly twice as many raffle tickets as did students in the nofavour condition The lowball technique a strategy to increase compliance occurs when something is offered at a given price but then after agreement the price is increased Even though the modified deal is less attractive people have committed themselves to the course of action and may have engaged in postdecisional dissonance reduction In a study done by Cialdini Cacioppo BassettMiller 1978 students in the control condition were told that the experiment would need to be scheduled for 7 am even for the early time of day 31 made the appointment and 24 actually showed up In the lowball condition students were asked if they would agree to participate but they were not told what time Only after they agreed were they told the time of day Among these students 56 made the appointment and 53 showed up Why Because people want to act consistent with their initial decision or perhaps they fear that they would look inconsistent if they did not carry through with the decision Postdecisional dissonance is when people make a choice and commitment to themselves which in turn makes them more favourable to the situation or object and more likely to be compliant The scarcity technique a strategy to increase compliance involves making a product appear scarce or temporary to increase its attractiveness A study done by Stephen Worchel Jerry Lee and Akanbi Adewole 1975 university students were given a chocolate chip cookie and asked to taste it and then rate it on several scales In one condition the jar contained 10 cookies In another condition only two cookies were in the jar creating an experimental version of a scarce resource Even though the cookies were all identical they were rated as more desirable when they were taken from the twocookie jar than from the 10 cookie jar The liking technique reflects the fact that we are more likely to comply with the requests of people we like than with the requests of people we dislike This technique may reply on the fact that we want to please people we like and on the heuristic that we help people we like In a study done by Dariusz Dolinski Magdalena Nawrat and Izabela Rudak 2001 a female university student approached other students individually in their dormitories and asked whether they would help out collecting money books and toys for children in an orphanage Some participants were simply asked this request directly after an opening Hi among this group only 28 agreed Other participants were exposed to a brief conversation prior to the request ie Hi is this session examination period going to be hard for you How many exams are you taking So how are you feeling before the session Among participants exposed to this minimal conversation 68 agreed to help out with the collections The researchers suggested that this kind of conversation is characteristic of encounters with friends and acquaintances so it serves as a heuristic to elicit responses like those directed to friends In another set of studies Jerry Burger showed that university students were more likely to comply with another students requests when they shared a birthday a first name or a fingerprint type with the student than when they did not have these coincidental similarities The shared feature doubled the rate of compliance Concept ReviewCompliance TechniquesTechnique Description Example Footinthedoor Technique Agreeing to a small request increases A struggling student asks a more
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