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Social Influence

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Social Influence

  1. 1. Social Influence Changing Others’ Behavior
  2. 2. Social Influence • Efforts by one or more individuals to change the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions or behaviors of one or more others.
  3. 3. Conformity • A type of social influence in which individuals change their attitudes or behavior to adhere to existing social norms.
  4. 4. Compliance • A form of social influence involving direct requests from one person to another.
  5. 5. Symbolic Social Influence • Social influence resulting from the mental representation of others or our relationships with them (rather than their actual presence or overt actions). • Grad students shown subliminal images of scowling dept. chair evaluated own research more negatively. • Relational schemas may be triggered, which in turn affects our behavior. • Influence of media and eating disorders
  6. 6. Obedience • A form of social influence in which one person simply orders some action.
  7. 7. Social Norms • 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 swimming.”) • 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.”)
  8. 8. 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 once). • Group unanimity is crucial, once broken, resisting group pressure becomes much easier. • Though we may follow social norms overtly, we don’t actually change our private views.
  9. 9. Factors Affecting Conformity • Cohesiveness: the factors that bind group members together into a coherent social entity and the extent that we want to belong to it. • 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 theory).
  10. 10. Situational Norms • 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.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. Minority Influence • 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 widely accepted. • Revolutionary War
  14. 14. Conditions needed for minorities to influence majorities • 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).
  15. 15. How Minorities sometimes Influence Majorities • Minorities tend to overestimate no. of people who share their views, which can increase resolve. • 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.
  16. 16. Compliance: To Ask—Sometimes—Is to Receive Six principals for gaining compliance Friendship/Liking Commitment/Consistency (once committed, more willing) Scarcity (desire for scarce objects) Reciprocity (more willing after previous favor) Social Validation Authority
  17. 17. Friendship/Liking • 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 desired manner. – Flattery, nonverbal positive cues, doing favors, calling attention to small and slightly surprising similarities between them and ourselves (incidental similarity).
  18. 18. 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 free sample • Lowball Procedure: the original offer is changed to make it less attractive to target person once accepted (car salesmen).
  19. 19. 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.
  20. 20. 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 a ‘bargain.’
  21. 21. 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.
  22. 22. 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 actions • 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 authority figure

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