• Efforts by one or more individuals to change
the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions or
behaviors of one or more others.
• A type of social influence in which individuals
change their attitudes or behavior to adhere
to existing social norms.
• A form of social influence involving direct
requests from one person to another.
Symbolic Social Influence
• Social influence resulting from the mental
representation of others or our relationships with
them (rather than their actual presence or overt
• Grad students shown subliminal images of
scowling dept. chair evaluated own research
• Relational schemas may be triggered, which in
turn affects our behavior.
• Influence of media and eating disorders
• A form of social influence in which one person
simply orders some action.
• Rules indicating how individuals are expected to
behave in specific situations.
• Descriptive norms: norms that simply indicate
what most people do in a given situation (signs,
laws such as “keep off the grass,” “No
• Injunctive norms: norms specifying what ought to
be done—what is approved or disapproved
behavior in a given situation (“Don’t stare at
strangers,” “Don’t arrive at parties on time.”)
Asch’s Research on Conformity
• Wrong answers given by Asch’s assistants on a
line judgment task exposed participants to
strong social pressure to conform (76% went
along with the group’s false answers at least
• Group unanimity is crucial, once broken,
resisting group pressure becomes much
• Though we may follow social norms overtly,
we don’t actually change our private views.
Factors Affecting Conformity
• Cohesiveness: the factors that bind group
members together into a coherent social
entity and the extent that we want to belong
• Group size
• Norms (but we follow injunctive norms only to
the extent that they are salient—the focal
point for persons involved at the time the
behavior occurs—called normative focus
• Situational norms guide behavior in a certain
situation or environment and can be activated
in an automatic manner.
• Study by Aarts & Dijksterhuis (2003) where
participants viewed images of library or
railway station, some told they would later
visit the site/some not, then asked to read a
list of words aloud. Lowered their voices in
the expect-to-visit library condition.
Why we often choose to “go along.”
• Normative Social Influence: Social influence
based on the desire to be liked or accepted by
other persons (to win approval, praise).
• Informational Social Influence: Social
influence based on the desire to be correct (to
posses accurate perceptions of the social
world). We look to others’ opinions/actions to
guide us and this is very powerful when we
are not sure what is correct and what is not.
Resisting Pressures: when we choose
not to “go along.”
• The need to maintain our individuality, or
individuation: the need to be distinguishable
from others in some respects.
• The desire for personal control
– Whether we conform in a given situation depends
on the strength of these two motives and the
complex interplay between them.
• Sometimes when minorities within their own
group refuse to go along, it can turn tables on
majority and exert social influence (Galileo
Galileo, Pasteur and Freud).
• Environmentalists were initially viewed as
radicals but now many of their views are
• Revolutionary War
Conditions needed for minorities to
• Members of minorities must be consistent in
opposition to majority opinions, if they waver
or seem divided, impact is reduced.
• Minority members must avoid appearing rigid
and dogmatic (exhibit flexibility).
• The social context in which minority operates
is important (argue for a position consistent
with current social trends).
How Minorities sometimes Influence
• Minorities tend to overestimate no. of people
who share their views, which can increase
• Minorities induce majority to exert increased
cognitive effort in order to understand why
minority holds certain views—positive effect.
• Minorities also engage in systematic processing
concerning unpopular views, which can lead
them to generate stronger arguments.
Compliance: To Ask—Sometimes—Is
Six principals for gaining compliance
Commitment/Consistency (once committed,
Scarcity (desire for scarce objects)
Reciprocity (more willing after previous favor)
• Ingratiation: A technique for gaining
compliance in which requesters first induce
target persons to like them and then attempt
to change the persons’ behavior in some
– Flattery, nonverbal positive cues, doing favors,
calling attention to small and slightly surprising
similarities between them and ourselves
Commitment and Consistency Tactics
• Foot-in-the-door technique: gaining
compliance by beginning with a small request
and then, once granted, asking for something
bigger (the one desired all along). *accept this
• Lowball Procedure: the original offer is
changed to make it less attractive to target
person once accepted (car salesmen).
Tactics based on Reciprocity
Door-in-the-face technique: starts with a large
request, and once refused, retreats to a
smaller one (the one actually desired).
– Would you be a student counselor for 2 hrs. per
week for two years? No. Would you take a group
of juveniles to the zoo for two hours?
– Negotiators, sellers use this technique.
Tactics based on Reciprocity
That’s-not-all technique: Requesters offer
additional benefits to target persons before
these persons have decided to whether to
comply with or reject specific requests.
- offering an extra incentive like a
reduction in price, something additional for
the same price, or creating the appearance of
Tactics based on Scarcity
• Hard-to-get approach: increases compliance
by suggesting that a person or object is scarce
and hard to obtain (effective in romance, and
used by job candidates who let potential
employer know they have other offers)
• Deadline technique: targets persons are told
that they have only limited time to take
advantage of some offer or obtain some item.
Obedience (Would you ever harm an
innocent stranger if ordered to do so?)
– Obedience in the laboratory (Milgram study)
– Destructive Obedience, why does it occur?
• Authority figure relieves person of responsibility for
• Visible badges or signs of authority by requester
• Escalation of authority figure’s orders
• Fast pace
– How to resist the effects of destructive obedience
• Reminded of personal responsibility, exposure to
disobedient models, question expertise/motives of