Types of ConformityComplianceGoing along withothers to gain theirapproval and avoiddisapproval. You goalong with amajority, but do notchange your privateattitude.InternalisationGoing along withothers because youhave accepted theirpoint of view as yourown. You examineothers beliefs andthink that the groupare right. This causesa change in privateattitude.
Asch (1956)• Student volunteers were asked to take part in avision experiment.• Unknown to the volunteers all of the otherparticipants were confederates of the experimenter.• Students were asked to sit in a room and look atthree line lengths and say which was the samelength as a standard line.– 123 male undergraduates from America– Always answered in the same order with the realparticipant being second to last or last– Confederates gave the incorrect answer 12 out of 18trials– On the 12 trials the real participant also gave anincorrect answer 36.8% of the time (i.e. they conformed)– ¼ of the participants never conformed
Why did people conform in theAsch study?A small numberof participantshad distortedperception andsaw the lines inthe same way asthe majorityThe participantsbegan to questiontheir ownjudgementThe participantsconformed inpublic but trustedtheir own privatejudgement
Variations of AschTaskdifficulty• When the difference between line sizes was smaller the task becamemore difficult and more people conformed.• However, Lucas et al. (2006) found that when participants weremore confident in their ability they remained more independent.Size ofmajority• Little conformity occurred with 1-2 confederates.• However, when the majority was 3 confederates conformity jumpedto over 30%.Unanimity• When one real participant or confederate gave the correct answerconformity reduced.• When a confederate gave a different wrong answer to the majorityconformity also reduced down to 9%.
Evaluating Conformity Research The task was insignificant. No one really cares about line lengths and theywill probably conform to save face.- Williams and Sogon (1984) found conformity was higher around peopleyou know and belonged to the same sports club. A real-world application of conformity is jury decisions. It was found that inover 95% of cases the first jury vote determined the overall decision. Asch used deception as the participants were not aware of the real purposeof the experiment. Without deception though the experiment wouldn’t bepossible. All of the participants were American and men (gender and culturallybiased). The experiment was conducted in the 1950s during a time known asMcCarthyism (strong anti-communism when people were scared to bedifferent). When the study was repeated by Perrin and Spencer (1980) inEngland conformity occurred in 1/396 trials with Engineering and Sciencestudents. Asch was pleased to show that his results actually showed 2/3 of individualswere independent , rather than conformist.
Why do people conform?EvaluationNormative SocialInfluenceGoing along with themajority as you want tofit in and be liked (youdon’t really accept theirview). This is otherwiseknown as compliance.This is due to the humanneed to be accepted andfear of rejection.• Garandeau and Cillessen (2006) have shownhow groups which have low qualityinterpersonal friendships are easilymanipulated by a bully to victimise anotherchild, thus creating a common goal andpressure to comply.• Normative social influence can be used toreduce smoking and alcohol abuse inadolescents. Linkenbach and Perkins (2003)used marketing campaigns about what isnormal in their age groups with 12-17 year oldsin the USA and found less adolescents took upsmoking when presented with a message tellingthem that children their age did not smoke.• Schultz et al (2008) gathered data from 132hotels and 794 rooms. Some rooms were given adoor hanger telling them the benefits of reusingtowels. One group were informed 75% of guestschange towel every day. Those guests with theNSI message reduced towel usage by 25%!
Why do people conform?EvaluationInformational SocialInfluenceGoing along with theothers because theybelieve the majority tobe right. We don’t justcomply publicly, butchange our viewprivately too. This isotherwise known asinternalisation.• Wittenbrink and Henly (1996) found that whenindividuals were given negative comparisoninformation about African Americans (whichthey were told was the view of the majority)they later reported more negative views about ablack target individual.• Fein et al (2007) showed that judgements aboutUS presidential candidate performance duringdebates could be influenced by viewing others’reactions.• ISI can be used to explain some strangebehaviours. Jones et al (2000) studied a case ofmass psychogenic illness in a Tennessee schoolin 1998. A teacher noticed a petrol-like smell inher classroom, she then complained ofheadache, nausea and dizziness. The school wasevacuated. 80 students and 19 staff weretreated at the local hospital. An exhaustiveinvestigation was conducted for this ‘illness’but no cause was ever found. This would be acase of inappropriate informational influence.
Obedience• Milgram (1963)– Aim: To investigate why people may obey a destructive orinhumane act.– Findings: 65% of the participants continued to 450 volts, eventhough this was labelled ‘Danger: Severe Shock’. Allparticipants went to 300 volts and only 5 stopped at thispoint.– Conclusion: Ordinary people are astonishingly obedient whenasked to behave inhumanely. So maybe it is not evil peoplewho carry out atrocities, but ordinary people obeying orders.40 male participants took part at Yale University.Paid $4.50 (even if they quit).One real participant and two confederates (learner andexperimenter). Fake lots were drawn and the participant was the‘teacher’. He was told to administer increasing electric shocks everytime an incorrect answer was given on a learning task.The learner, in another room, gave mainly incorrect answers andreceived fake shocks until they reached 300 volts. At this point hepounded on the wall and then gave no response to the nextquestion.At 315 volts this was repeated and then gave no response. If theteacher asked to stop the experimenter encouraged him to continue.
Evaluating Obedience Research• Ethical issues– Deception– Lack of informed consent– Right to withdraw?– Protection from psychological harm• Cross cultural replications0102030405060708090USA Germany Australia UK JordanA graph to show the cultural replications ofMilgram’s (1974) experimentMaleFemaleStudents
• How valid is Milgram’s research?– Orne and Holland (1968) suggest theresearch isn’t realistic as the experimenterdidn’t react when the learner cried out inpain. Therefore the participant doesn’tthink the suffering is happening andadministers the shocks.– Hofling et al (1966) tested obedience in areal life setting. 22 nurses were called onthe phone by a Dr Smith and asked toadminister a drug at twice the normallevel. This was against hospitalregulations. 21 out of 22 nurses did asrequested.Evaluating Obedience Research
Why do people obey?GradualcommitmentAgentic shiftBuffersJustifyingobedienceAs low shocks aregiven at first itbecomes hard toresist theexperimenter. Theshocks neverincrease by morethan 15 volts, sohaving done theprevious shock it ishard to resist thenext.This is a term used todescribe when aperson feels thatthey are carrying outactions on behalf ofsomeone else.Milgram felt that theparticipant flicksbetween this stateand the autonomousstate when they acton their own accord.The teacher and thelearner are indifferent rooms. Theteacher does not seethe victim and theeffects of the shocksso the obediencelevel is higher thanwhen the teacher isin the same room.People had anexcuse, i.e. they werefollowing orders forthe future of science.Therefore they aremore likely tocontinue. During theHolocaust the Naziscarried out atrocitiesbased on thepropaganda of‘dangerous Jews’.EvaluationCritics have suggested that using Milgram’s research to explainthe Nazi’s atrocious acts is misleading.Using obedience as the soul reason for the persecution of Jewsignores other factors (such as anti-Semitism – hostility andprejudice to Jews). There were countless acts of violence andcruelty voluntary carried out by ordinary Germans.Milgram’s participants took part for just half an hour. Thepersecution of the Jews took place for years.Saying that the Nazi’s carried out these acts as they were ‘justcarrying out orders’ does not help those affected by theholocaust.
Resisting Social InfluenceResisting pressures to conform1. Allies2. Moral considerations3. NonconformistpersonalityResisting pressures to obey4. Insights from Milgram5. Moral considerations6. Social heroism1. AlliesAsch showed that having one dissenter reduced conformity.Having social support makes you feel more confident aboutrejecting a majority. Allen and Levine (1971) supported this with their Asch-typetask. Three conditions: (1. Poor vision –thick glasses = invalidsocial support. 2. Normal vision = valid social support. 3. Loneparticipant). Found that conditions 1 and 2 reduced conformitycompared to lone participant, but valid social support had moreof an impact, an ally is more helpful when offering valid support.2. Moral ConsiderationsMost research in the area of conformity is about judging linelengths...it is so unrealistic to real life.Research by Asch showed that people conform to a majority inorder to be liked by the group (normative social influence). Inthe Asch task participants were not affected morally by theirconformity.Real life is different, if a situation is moral, the costs to yourintegrity are higher. Hornsey et al (2003) found little movementtowards a majority on morally significant events (e.g. cheating).3. Nonconformist personalityPersonality effects conformity.Some people are unconcerned by social norms or may not evenknow what a social norm is.Some individuals are predisposed to actively oppose majorityinfluence, the have an anti-conformity orientation in theirpersonality.4. Insights from Milgram’s studyMilgram was interested in why people did not obey theexperimenter and did not go to the full 450v.By carrying out variations of his study in a rundown officebuilding instead of the prestigious Yale University Milgramfound more people could resist authority.This showed Milgram that status was important; the higher thestatus, the higher the obedience.In other variations Milgram found that seeing the victim orhaving an ally increased resistance to the experimenter.5. Moral considerationsKohlberg was a colleague of Milgram’s. He presented Milgram’sparticipants with moral dilemmas. These were not about whatyou would not in the situation, but why you would behave inthat way.Those that based their decisions on morals (what is considered tobe ‘right’) were more defiant in the Milgram study.Those with low morals obeyed the experimenter entirely.6. Social heroismZimbardo argues that those who resist authority in a negativesituation are actually heroes.They think about the good of society before themselves.Social heroes put themselves at risk, could have lowered socialstatus, a loss of credibility and even torture or death.Examples of social heroes include Nelson Mandela, who went toprison for 36 years when he resisted apartheid in South Africa.AO2: Advice to help people resist the pressure toobey:1. Ask yourself whether you would carry outthe act if you were not ordered to do it.2. Beware of the ‘foot-in-the-door’.3. Find an ally.AO2: Gender Differences in ConformityGriskevicius et al (2006) found that males areless likely to conform that females whenlooking for a partner.Evolutionary psychology explains why…menneed to stand out to attract a mate!
Individual Differences inIndependent BehaviourLocus of Control• This refers to how muchcontrol people believe theyhave over their own lives.• It is measured on adimension, from high internalto high external.• In terms of independentbehaviour:– High internals are less likely torely on the opinions of others– High internals are moreachievement orientated and aremore likely to be leaders– High internals are better able toresist the coercion from othersEvaluation• Anderson and Schneier (1978)found internals are more likelyto be leaders in groups.• Twenge et al (2004) studiedyoung Americans increasinglybelieve that that their behaviouris under the control of others.– Meta analysis between 1960 and2002– Found that locus of control scoresbecame more external over time.– The implications of this arenegative – poor schoolachievement, decreased self-control and depression.– Could be explained by socialchanges in the West over time(increased divorce rate and violentcrime) which are out of control ofyoung people.Internal Locus of Control ExternalA person believes that theirbehaviour is caused primarilyby their own personal decisionsand effortsA person believes that theirbehaviour is caused primarilyby fate, luck or by otherexternal circumstances
What is ‘Social Change’?• Definition: When a whole societyadopts a new belief or way of behavingwhich then becomes widely accepted asthe ‘norm’.– This is through a process of minorityinfluence.• When an outspoken minority advocatea new way of doing things, a persuasiveargument can be formed allowing themajority to think about their viewsand change to match the minority.
Conditions necessary forSocial ChangeWhen a minority drawsattention to an issuethat is different to themajority it creates aconflict people aremotivated to reduce. Acivil rights group(Fathers4Justice) havetaken part in highprofile stunts incostume to bringfathers rights to a wideaudience.We don’t always dismiss aminority behaviour as‘odd’, and this creates aconflict so we have to thinkabout the issue more closely.E.g. We may receive a leafletabout animal testing andcosmetics, we think deeplyabout it, creating a conflictabout whether we continueto buy the products.Overtime more and morepeople may buy cruelty-freeproducts and the behaviourspreads changing themajority opinion.Minorities have to beconsistent over timein order to beinfluential. They alsohave to be consistentwith each other.The majority will often stopand take notice of a minorityif the minority risk theirlives in some way. This isknown as the ‘augmentationprinciple’. The minority arewilling to suffer for theirpoint of view and this willinfluence social change. Anexample of this is the Polishtrade union ‘Solidarity’ whogrew to a movement ofnearly 10 million memberswho helped overthrowcommunism across Europe.
Evaluation of Social Change• Kruglanski (2003) argues that terrorism is a form of socialchange:– Consistency and persistence – in Palestine the persistentbombing are designed to show a commitment tooverthrowing the Israeli government.– Augmentation – people are willing to put their lives at riskfor what they believe in.• Suffragettes – the persistence of this group of women leadto social change:– They drew attention to the issue (education and politics)– Conflict – the majority were drawn into a personal conflictover existing views– Consistency – their fight took 15 years to win the right tovote– Augmentation – Emily Davison threw herself in front of theKing’s horse for what she believed in• Minorities do not always bring about social change, theyare sometimes still seen as deviant in the majority’s eyes.