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Social Psych Chapter notes

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PSYC 2120
Mc Caan

Conformity, compliance and obedience ✦Defining conformity, compliance and obedience • Conformity: any change in behavior that is caused by another person or group; the individual acts a certain way because of the influence of others (does not include a change of attitude or belief) • Compliance: refers to a change in behavior that is requested by a person or group (you are able to refuse or decline, but the individual only acts that way because someone else asked them too) • Obedience: change in behavior that is ordered by another person or group (failure to obey is not an option, even if the individual would have liked to) • Conformity encompasses both obedience and compliance, bc it is a change in behavior, no matter what the reason for the change • People will conform to do as other have done without request, if they are unsure how to behave in an event (people will go along with others in these ambiguous events, even if the other person is acting in a weird way that doesn’t follow reality) • Compliances can take place in many events, including when you are shopping and a sales clerk influences you to buy more than you wanted; it also includes when a panhandler / homeless person influences you to give them money Obedience starts early from your parents and teachers and lead to us being obedient • in adulthood, by following laws, listening to people of authority (boss) or people in uniform (police) Why do we conform? • There are 2 principal reasons for conforming: informational influence and normative influence • Informational influence: people are influenced by others bc of a desire to be correct and gather valid information i.e. Following what your driving instructor does • Normative influence: people are influenced by others to gain rewards and avoid punishments (they may not think that others behavior is correct, but will follow it to avoid conflict) i.e. Obeying the law •People could conform based on both influences instead of just one ✦Conformity: doing as others do • Two studies have been done to see why people do what others do: sometimes people follow others bc they are unaware of what to do, but other times people do things, even if they know they shouldn't Sherif’s autokinetic effect studies • Sherifs research on conformity was based on social norms (guidelines to what is proper and improper, and will lead to social acceptance) The autokinetic effect • The autokinetic effect: when a light is situated on a wall and there is not other light in the room, it will appear that the light is moving or jumping; this occurs bc there is no other visual frame and also based on your rapid eye movement’s • First part of the study was that people individually reported how far the light moved on the wall; the responses were different for different people and during the different trials • The second part of the study, people were either paired up in groups after having one trial on their own or they were put into groups right away and then tested alone afterwards •Results: when they were put into groups after being alone, the people in the group slowly converged to have a similar answer to each other; however people who were in a group first and then alone, had convergent answers right away, and their convergent answers followed on to when they were tested alone (pg. 290 fig 8.1) • Therefore, group norms are established and are carried over into individuals judgment Asch’s length judgment studies Study included 7 confederates and one naive participant who were all shown different • lines to compare with one standard line; the experiment was that people would say out- loud what the correct line represents the standard line; by trial 3, the confederates would all being saying the wrong size line (experiment was to see if you would conform and say what they did, or would you stick to what you know is correct) •Result was that 23% of people went against the norm and gave the correct answer The crutchfield apparatus: separate study that was done to have better control of experiment: used five naive participants and set them up into cubicles where they would give an answer to a question by setting up a light; the experiment controlled the rest of the lights; the result was that participants would show some type of conformity (expect for the study on which drawing the person preferred; which was a personal preference so conformity shouldn't have been present there) • Overall, conformity is more likely when a task is ambiguous, when a task is more difficult; this is because on these types of task peoples responses both exert and informational and normative influence on the task • People who are independent are more motivated to achieve and have higher leadership abilities, therefore have a decrease in conformity; these people are also less conscientious, authoritarian, and dont have a high need of approval from others • Conformity increases around grade 9 and declines by university • Conformity increases as the size of the group goes from one to three (but not beyond five, where conformity decreases at 6) • Having private responses to this, will lead to a decrease in conformity (and even higher when responses are anonymous) Cultural differences in conformity • Conformity is higher with collectivistic than individualist cultures (culture is a higher predicator than size of a group) •If ones self concept is more interdependent, you are more likely to conform Gender differences in conformity • There is a small gender difference, in that women are more likely to conform than men • One reason for this is that women care more about a social harmony so they are less willing to disagree with others; men may also be unconsciously bias to being more independent; and conformity studies have been masculine, resulting in women not being as confident in their judgments • If a response is more public, women are more likely to conform, then if the response was private (therefore normative influences effect them more) ✦Compliance: doing as others want The foot in the door technique • If you get someone to agree to a small request, they are more likely to agree with a larger one as well (the most common compliance technique) • There are two reasons why this technique works: self-perception and consistency • Self-Perception: when people comply to a small request, they label themselves as helpful; so they are more likely to agree to a second request bc they see themselves as being a helpful person • Desire for consistency: peoples attitudes and behaviors need to be consistent (dissonance theory) a
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