Textbook Notes (363,420)
Canada (158,366)
Psychology (4,731)

Psychology 2720A/B CHP 8: Conformity, Compliance & Obedience

11 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Psychology 2720A/B
Clive Seligman

1 CHP8: Conformity, Compliance and Obedience DEFINING CONFORMITY, COMPLIANCE, AND OBEDIENCE - Conformity: any change in behaviour caused by another person or group o Most general: encompasses compliance and obedience o Person may have copied or wanted to impress someone o Only applies to changes in behaviour not personal attitudes/beliefs o Makes sense in a new situation when you’re trying to decide what to do – may help you avoid looking bad o People often go along with incorrect responses of others, even when it is clear they are wrong - Compliance: a change in behaviour that is requested by another group or person o It was possible to refuse/decline o We experience requests everywhere – some people are compliance professionals (i.e. Salesperson, panhandler) - Obedience: A change in behaviour that is ordered by another person or group o Starts early in childhood when we are socialized to follow orders by parents and teachers o Adults are relative obedient – follow rules from police, government, boss etc. o People are very susceptible to this kind of influence even if it means causing harm to themselves or others Why Do We Conform? Two principal reasons: - Informational influence: influence from other people that is motivated by a desire to be correct and to obtain accurate information o Reflects that people rely on others for info – trust others judgments - Normative influence: influence from other people that is motivated by a desire to gain rewards or to avoid punishment o May simply want to be liked or avoid conflict even though they don’t think others behaviour is “correct” o E.g. people avoid laws because they don’t want to be punished o E.g. conforming to appearance/attitudes of popular peers so one will be liked - We often want to please other people (Normative influence) whose judgments we seek (Informational influence) CONFORMITY: DOING AS OTHERS DO - Can occur w/o even realizing - We go along with others because we don’t understand what is happening/ we are unsure of what to do - Examples: Sherif – judgments were ambiguous, Asch – judgments were obvious Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect Studies 2 - Sheriff studied conformity addressing the development of social norms - Social norms: rules or guidelines in a group or culture about what behaviours are appropriate or not o Formal: laws and contracts o Informal: customs and traditions o Reward for following norm is social acceptance, punishment is social rejection or disapproval o One source of conformity (they represent influence from other people and guide behaviour) The Autokinetic Effect. - In a dark room, a pin hole of light will appear to move but this is really just an illusion - The autokinetic effect: in a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to move periodically o Happens because there are no other visual frames of reference to locate the light an partly because of rapid eye movements - In his first study: a relatively wide range of perceived movement occurred from person to person - Second study: half the participants were alone first and then came together with others – caused numbers to converge - Other half: together, then alone – caused members to maintain the norm ardne - 3 study w/ confederate: when the confederate was no longer present, participants responses remained very close to the standard set in the first 50 trial thus the confederate influenced participants judgments Multigenerational Norms. - Group norms are spontaneously established and carry over into individual judgments - We do not typically know where norms are started and how they’ve been passed along - Can be modeled in a lab: have a group with confederates and naïve participants, set some standard for something and keep switching out confederates until only naïve participants are left - Study continued for 11 generations until respondents began to drift, indicating norms can persist long after the original instigators are gone Asch’s Length Judgment Studies - Making judgments of lines – there is a clearly correct answer - 23% of critical participants (28/123) always gave the correct answer and went against the group on all 12 false trials - 45% gave between 1-6 wrong answers and 32% gave 7-12 wrong answers The Crutchfield Apparatus. - Crutchfield Apparatus: a machine that consists of an electrical panel with several rows of lights; it allows the efficient study of conformity by simulating the responses of numerous hypothetical participants o Participants believe they are seeing other peoples responses while in their cubicle but really it’s the researcher flipping switches 3 o They have full control of what pattern of responses to use and all participants are “critical participants” o Replicated Asch’s findings – participants showed conformity on perceptual judgements, attitudes, opinions, personal preferences and assessments of factual material o Only exception was in the case of personal preference, there was little/ no effect of group pressure Nature Of The Task. - Amount of conformity depends on features of task o Ambiguous tasks are more likely to cause conformity o Difficult tasks – because people are less certain of their answers may cause conformity… may also reduce conformity because it’s more acceptable to differ from someone when the task is difficult o More conformity is found when judgments are based on memory o Additional impact of informational influence increases the overall rate of conformity on ambiguous and difficult tasks Individual Differences. - People who remain independent are somewhat higher in their motivation to achieve and in their leadership ability. Also tend to be less concerned with obtaining approval from others, less authoritarian, less conscientious - High self esteem people are less likely to conform, especially when self esteem is based on intrinsic qualities like honesty or generosity - These people are more confident about their own judgments - But, individual differences correlate weakly with conformity - There is a general tendency for conformity to decrease as age increase – typically grade 9 is when people are most concerned about fitting in – as people grow they feel less pressure to agree with others Effects of Group Size. - Studies indicate conformity rose rapidly when groups went from 1 – 5 but additional increases were not significant - But, it is also likely that very large groups (thousands) exert more pressure to conform then small groups How To Make Conformity Disappear. - Shift to private, confidential responses for Asch’s “critical participants” produced a dramatic reduction in conformity - Also a reduction when judgments were anonymous rather than face to face - Presence of just one “partner” – someone else who gives same response as critical participant virtually eliminated conformity – little social support is all that is needed to stand up to the majority Cultural Differences in Conformity Individualism V. Collectivism. - Conformity is higher in collectivist cultures - Culture predicted conformity more strongly than other factors such as size of group Individual Diffs. In Independent V. Interdependent Self-Concepts. 4 - People from individualist cultures have independent self-concepts – collectivist cultures have interdependent self concepts - Theodore Singelis developed a scale to measure independent/interdependent self-concepts “Self-Construal Scale” – we are still unaware of tests of correlations with this scale and conformity Gender Differences in Conformity - There is a small overall gender difference in conformity, women conform slightly more than men do – but many men conform more than women (distributions overlap) - Various reasons have been offered for difference: - Most studies have been conducted by men and therefore may be biased toward finding greater independence among men - Topics in conformity studies have typically been “masculine” with the results that women were less confident in their judgments, and more susceptible to influence - 3 suggestion: women are more concerned about harmony in social relationships than are men, which makes them less wiling to disagree with others - Another important qualification: gender differences appear only when participants responses are public – responses will be communicated to other members of the group - Suggests that woman may be more susceptible to normative influence then men – why? Perhaps historically disadvantaged status has caused them to be cautious about deviating from the norm - Women are physically smaller and fill less powerful social roles – both make deviating from group risky COMPLIANCE: DOING AS OTHERS WANT - Direct requests from people – e.g. someone asks you to lend your notes, some money, or sign a petition, or do a favour - Typically we can resist if we want to but some techniques are used: Foot In The Door Technique - Foot-in-the-door Technique: a 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 Johnathan Freedman conducted the first demonstration of this technique o Researchers went door-to-door to ask if people would allow a “Drive Carefully” sign to be put in their front lawns – poorly constructed and took up a lot of space – only 16% agreed to this o Other Ps were contacted and asked to sign a petition first/post a small sign – when larger request was made two weeks later 55% agree to it o This is one of the most common techniques used in everyday life - Why does it work? Self-perception and consistency processes. Self-Perception Processes. 5 - Daryl Bem: people sometimes infer their internal states, such as attitudes and emotions, from their behaviour and the situation in which behaviour occurs - How does this relate to FITD? When people agree to a small request, they may engage in self perception and see themselves as “helpful” for instance, when the second request is made, they are more likely to agree because they now believe they are helpful people Consistency Processes. - Dissonance theory (Festinger): people want attitudes and behaviours to be consistent with one another and are distressed by inconsistencies - Impression management theory: people want to appear consistent to others and are embarrassed by public inconsistencies - Both of these could contribute to effectiveness of FITD technique Individuals Diffs. For Preference of Consistency. - “Preference for consistency scale” – Robert Cialdini – “I want to be described by others as a stable, predictable person” and “I make an effort to appear consistent to others” – people who score high on this exhibit stronger dissonance effects than do people who score low in PFC - If FITD is caused in part by PFC, those high in PFC may be more susceptible – which was found in an experiment by Cialdini Door In The Face Technique - Door-in-the-face Technique: a strategy in increase compliance, based on the fact that refusal of a large request increases the likelihood of agreement with a subsequent smaller request - Studied by Cialdini: asked students if they would accompany a group of juvenile delinquents to the zoo (16% agreed), others were first asked if they would be willing to serve as a counsellor for two years (nobody agreed to this), yet when the small request followed 50% fully agreed - How does this technique work? Cialdini proposed critical factor is norm of reciprocity - Norm of Reciprocity: the principle that we should give back in return any favours that are done for us o E.g. if someone invites us to dinner, lends us money, etc. we return the favour o Something that is very strong in Canada and exists in most cultures around the world - Hoe does it help DITF technique? Second smaller request may be seen as a concession – a compromise in response to the initial refusal (illogical because the person did not ask him ornder to make the first request but target is still susceptible to seeing the 2 request as a compromise on the requesters part) - Since requester made the concession of lowering the demand, target should make a concession in return (reciprocity) - To make DITF work: first request must be large enough to be denied but not to large to be seen as illegitimate - Also, second request must be close in time to first request – delay eliminates perception that two requests are connects which is necessary to view second request as a concession/compromise 6 Free-Gift Technique - Free-Gift Technique: a strategy used to increase compliance, based on the fact that giving someone a small gift increases the likelihood of agreement with a subsequent request o Comes from charities – give small gifts in hopes of getting donations, recipients feel pressure to reciprocate and donate - Denis Regan – students were paired with accomplices, in the “favour” condition, accomplice left and got a soda for both of them, in the control group he/she left and got nothing - Confederate asked the naïve student to purchase raffle tickets – in the favour condition students bought nearly twice as many tickets as in the no-favour condition Low-Ball Technique - Low-ball Technique: a strategy to increase compliance, in which something is offered at a give
More Less

Related notes for Psychology 2720A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.