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What are two main reasons why people conform
- 1 - Informational social influence
- 2 - Normative social influence
Informational social influence is when we conform to others because we
1 - Believe that others’ interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more correct than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action
2 - See those others as a source of information to guide our behaviour.
3 - Do not know the correct or best thing to do or say
Situations which are most likely to produce conformity due to informational social influence include
- Ambiguous or confusing situations.
- Crisis situations.
- When other people are experts.Experts are not always reliable sources of information.
Using other people as a source of information can backfire. If they are misinformed, then we too will adopt their mistakes and misinterpretations (mass psychological illness)
Informational social influence can lead to
private acceptance: conforming to other people’s behaviour out of a genuine belief that what they are doing or saying is right.
public acceptance is conforming to other people’s behaviour publicly, without necessarily believing in what they are doing, or saying
Not everybody conforms to informational social influence. The decision about conformity influences how people define reality What happens when you accept or reject ppl's definitions?
If you decide to accept other people’s definition of a situation, you will come to see the world as they do.
If you decide to reject other people’s definition of a situation, you will come to see the world differently from the way they do
What are 3 reasons we conform?
We also conform when we want to remain a member of the group, continue to gain the advantages of group membership, and avoid the pain of ridicule and rejection
Normative social influence results
In public compliance with the group’s beliefs and behaviours.
But not necessarily in private acceptance of the group’s beliefs and behaviours
Usually we will conform to the norms of a group when the group is:
- important to us
- we want the group members to like and accept us.
We also conform to a group of strangers (Asch's line study)
Social impact theory (Latané, 1981) suggests that conforming to normative pressures depends on:
- - Strength (i.e. how important the group of people is to you).
- - Immediacy (i.e. how close the group is to you in space and time during the influence attempt).
- - Number (i.e. how many people are in the group).
The social impact theory predicts that conformity will increase as:
Strength and immediacy increase.The number of people in the group increases — up to a point.
Only four or five people are generally needed, but this can depend on the kind of social influence.
We can resist inappropriate normative social influence by:
- - Becoming aware of what social norms are operating.
- - Finding an ally who thinks the way we do.
- - Gathering idiosyncrasy credits; the credits a person earns over time by conforming to the norms of a group in the past.
occurs when a minority of group members influences the behaviour or beliefs of the majority.
- In order to influence a majority, minority group members must present their views consistently.
- Minorities influence majorities via informational social influence
Three effective compliance techniques are introduced as:
- 1 - The door-in-the-face technique
- 2 - The foot-in-the-door technique
- 3 - Lowballing
The reciprocity norm
if someone does something nice for use, we are likely to reciprocate by doing something nice for them.
The reciprocity norm is appealed to in the door-in-the-face because when we back down from an extreme request for a smaller one, we feel as though the requester is doing us a favour by trying to meet us half-way. We then feel obliged to return the favour.
Milgram’s classic studies (1974) of obedience showed:
- 62.5% of participants obeyed to deliver the 450v shock, the maximum amount.
- 80% continued giving the shocks, even after they heard the receiver of shock was screaming: “Let me out of here! My heart’s bothering me.”
Why was MIlgrim's study successful?
Informational social influence.
- From the perspective of Milgram’s participants the experimenter was an expert and the situation was:
- - Ambiguous
- - Unfamiliar
- - Upsetting
Normative social influence.
- - Normative pressures made it difficult for people to refuse to continue with the study.
- - Participants were afraid that the experimenter would be disappointed, hurt, or even angry if they quit.
Other reasons that may explain why people acted so inhumanely in Milgram’s experiments are:
Conflicting norms, which in turn may lead to conforming to the wrong norm.
Self justification: once the participants delivered the first shock, they felt pressure to continue.
People conform because of the social situation, not because they are aggressive or inhuman.