Psychology 2070A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Muzafer Sherif, Social Proof, Stationary Point

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13 Nov 2012
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Chapter Eight Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
Defining Conformity, Compliance and Obedience
Terms refer to changes in behaviour caused by other people
Conformity any change in behaviour caused by another person or group influence from
other people
o Ex. spectator at Vancouver Canucks game would boo at a bad play because other fans
are booing
Compliance a change in behaviour that is requested by another person or group others
asked the person to act in such a way
o Ex. supporter of the NDP agrees to put a sign on her lawn supporting the NDP because
she was asked to by an official
Obedience a change in behaviour that is ordered by another person or group acted in a way
because others commanded him or her to do so
o Ex. child cleans up their bathroom because he was ordered to by his parents
Conformity encompasses compliance and obedience due to it refereeing to any behaviour that
occurs as a result of others’ influence
Conformity occurs when you are in a new or unusual situation and are looking at others in
deciding what to do
Compliance occurs because we are susceptible to requests of others
Obedience starts during childhood when we are socialized to follow the demands of our parents
and teachers
Why Do We Conform?
Occur for two reasons
o Informational influence influence from other people that is motivated by desire to
be correct and to obtain accurate information
o Normative influence influence from other people that is motivated by a desire to
gain rewards or avoid punishment
We often want to please people (normative influence) whose judgement we seek
(informational influence)
Conformity: Doing as Others Do
Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect Studies
Muzafer Sherif studied conformity as addressing the development of social norms
Social norms a rule or guideline in a group or culture about what behaviours are proper
and improper
The Autokinetic Effect
In a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to move
Because...there is no other visual frame of reference is available to locate light
Multigenerational Norms
Norms can persist long after their original instigators are gone
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Asch’s Length of Judgement Studies
Effective at generating conformity pressure
The Crutchfield Apparatus
To improve efficiency, flexibility, and control
Crutchfield Apparatus machine that consists of an electrical panel with several rows of
lights; allows the efficient study of conformity by stimulating the responses of numerous
hypothetical participants
Stimulates the responses of other people
All participants can be treated as ‘crucial participants’
Has high degree of experimental control
Participants showed conformity to the judgements of others
The Nature of the Task
The amount of conformity depends on the feature of the judgement task
o Ambiguity of the task: conformity is more likely when tasks are ambiguous
o Difficulty of the task
Can increase conformity because people are uncertain of the answer
Can reduce conformity because it is okay to differ from other peoples
answers
Ambiguous or difficult tasks exert informational and normative influence, where clear
and easy tasks only normative influence occurs
Individual Differences
Not everyone conforms
People who are independent have a higher motivation to achieve and have a higher
leadership ability than those who are likely to conform
Independent people:
o Care less about getting approval from others
o Less authoritarian
o Less conscientious
People with high self-esteem are more likely to conform
More confident in their judgements and less influenced by others
Correlate weakly with conformity
Conformity in children increased during elementary school, peaks in grade 9, and
declines up to university years
Conformity decreases as age increases
Effects of Group Size
Asch conformity increases as the size of the group varies from 1 to 3 members, but no
increase on groups larger than 3
Herard, Wilhelmy, Conolley conformity rises as groups grew from 1 to 5 members, but
no impact on groups larger than 6
Large groups exert more conformity pressure than small groups
How to Make Conformity Disappear
Two methods reduce the level of conformity
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o Private responses and reduction when judgements were anonymous rather
than face to face
Conformed publicly because of normative pressure
o Break up the unanimity of the group eliminates the yielding majority
Conforming in public
Cultural Differences in Conformity
Individualism Vs. Collectivism
People from individualist cultures are less likely to conform than those from collectivist
cultures
Strong sense of self is associated with low rates of conformity
Culture predicted participant’s conformity more than group size did
Individual Differences in Independent vs. Interdependent Self Concepts
Individualist cultures independent self-concepts
Collectivist cultures interdependent self-concepts
People whose self self-concepts are independent are less likely to conform than people
whose self-concepts are interdependent
Gender Differences in Conformity
Small overall gender difference in conformity
Women conform slightly more than men do...but also men can conform more than
many women
o Due to researchers being men
o Conformity studies have been dubbed as ‘masculine’ – less confident with their
judgements
o Women are more concerned about harmony in social relationships makes
them less willing to disagree with others
Only appears when participants responses are public
o When private, women do not conform more than men
o When public, women conform more than men do more susceptible to
normative influence
Power differentials can lead to conformity
Compliance: Doing as Others Want
Behaviour influence by direct requests from other people
The Foot-in-the-Door Technique
Foot-in-the-door technique strategy to increase compliance based on the fact that agreement
with a small request increases the likelihood of agreement with a subsequent larger request
o Some agrees to something small, then they are likely to agree to something larger
Initial contact and small request increases compliance
Self-Perception
Daryl Bem people infer their internal states (attitudes and emotions) from their
behaviour and the situation in which the behaviour occurred
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Document Summary

Terms refer to changes in behaviour caused by other people. Conformity any change in behaviour caused by another person or group influence from other people: ex. spectator at vancouver canucks game would boo at a bad play because other fans are booing. Conformity encompasses compliance and obedience due to it refereeing to any behaviour that occurs as a result of others" influence. Conformity occurs when you are in a new or unusual situation and are looking at others in deciding what to do. Compliance occurs because we are susceptible to requests of others. Obedience starts during childhood when we are socialized to follow the demands of our parents and teachers. We often want to please people (normative influence) whose judgement we seek (informational influence) Muzafer sherif studied conformity as addressing the development of social norms. Social norms a rule or guideline in a group or culture about what behaviours are proper and improper.

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