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Chapter 8

Chapter 8

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2720A/B
Professor
Richard Sorrentino
Semester
Fall

Description
Psych 2720A Chapter 8: Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience Dening Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience 3 specic kinds of social inuence: conformity, compliance, and obedience these are all changes in behaviour caused by other people conformity: any change in behaviour caused by another person or group going along with others may be the best way to do the right thing or to avoid appearing foolish, especially when the situation is ambiguous and you are uncertain about your own judgement and experience compliance: a change in behaviour that is requested by another person or group obedience: a change in behaviour that is ordered by another person or group obedience commands start in early childhood, when we are socialized to follow the orders of parents and teachers conformity encompasses compliance and obedience because is refers to ANY behaviour that occurs as a result of others inuence compliance and obedience refer to behaviour that resulted specically from requests or orders Why Do We Conform? conforming behaviours occur for two principal reasons, which are informational inuence and normative inuence informational inuence: inuence from other people that is motivated by a desire to be correct and to obtain accurate information people often rely on others as a source of information normative inuence: inuence from other people that is motivated by a desire to gain rewards to avoid punishment the two inuences can occur simultaneously Conformity: Doing as Others Do behavioural conformity can occur without the conscious awareness of an individual two famous early studies in social psychology look at different kinds of conformity: Muzafer Sherifs work on the autokinetic effect Solomon Aschs work on judgements of line lengths Sherifs Autokinetic Effect Studies social norm: a rule or guideline in a group or culture about what behaviours are proper and improper reward for following a norm is social acceptance or approval, whereas the punishment for breaking a norm is social rejection or disapproval social norms govern the way we dress, the way we speak, and the way we behave ie. a formal norm in Canada is to drive on the right side of the road social norms are one source of conformity The Autokinetic Effect autokinetic effect: in a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to move periodically and jump in different directions when it is not (an illusion) this illusion occurs partly because no other visual frame of reference is available to locate the light and partly because of occasional rapid movements of your eye in his rst study, Sherif asked 19 men to report how far the light appeared to move INDIVIDUALLY - the results showed a wide range of distances that the men perceived in his second study, Sherif assembled the people in groups of two or three - then, they were asked to report out loud the distances they perceived judgements of perceived movement come to converge (results of people became more and more similar) by the end of the study, the judgements of the two or three people in the same group became similar (with more repeated trials of the study) some participants made their initial judgements with someone else rather than being alone - found that the groups converged very rapidly on their own group norms (made their judgements in group situations from the beginning) when they were then broken up to be interviewed individually in the end of the study, the group norms still persisted look at p.290 for results. Multigenerational Norms ie. the norm that servers in restaurants should be given tips has been common in our society for many years MacNeil and Sherif did a lab study on this with 4 male high school students (3 of them were planted by the experimenter and one naive participant) the 3 boys established a norm which inuenced the naive particpant, and then, one of the 3 boys were replaced, leaving 2 naive participants and 2 originally planted by the experimenter this procedure was repeated until the whole group was replaced with naive participants in the 5th generation, the original naive participant was replaced with another naive participant - continued for 11 generations after 11 generations, responses began to drift from the original norms established by the original 4 highschool boys Aschs Length Judgement Studies on each trial, each participant is shown a line and a set of 3 lines - the task is to simply indicate which of the three comparison lines matches the standard line in length as the experiment begins, you learn that each member of the group is to announce his or her judgment out loud so the entire group can hear. in Aschs study, 7 members were confederates of the experimenter, instructed to give the wrong answer on designated trials - only one individual was unaware of the experimental condition only 23% of the critical participants always gave the correct answer the remaining 77% of the critical participants went along with the group on at least one of the 12 trials The Crutcheld Apparatus in Aschs procedure, confederates needed to be carefully trained, and, like any theatre production, their acting potentially different from session to session there was the possibility that the confederates would act differently depending on how the critical participant responded crutcheld apparatus: a machine that consists of an electrical panel with several rows of lights; it allows the efcient study of conformity by simulating the responses of numerous hypothetical participants when participants arrive for the experiment, they are seated in separate cubicles. Each cubicle contains an electrical panel with 5 rows of 11 lights and one row of 11 switches. experimenter explains each individual controls one row of lights as each person indicates her response (by throwing one of the 11 switches), a corresponding light will be illuminated on the panel in all cubicles - each participant believes that he or she will learn about the responses of others and that his or her own responses will be publicly known in reality, experimenter controls all of the lights Crutchelds ndings were similar to Aschs in that he used a variety of other tasks such as perceptual judgements, attitudes, opinions, etc EXCEPTION: in the case of expressing personal preferences, there was little or no effect of group pressure Nature of the Task the amount of conformity found in Asch-type experiments, or using the Crutcheld apparatus, depends on features of the judgement task conformity is more likely when tasks are ambiguous conformity is also inuenced by the difculty of the task - difcult tasks may incre
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