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Introduction to Social Psychology - conformity


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Introduction to Social Psychology - conformity

  1. 1. PSYA2 Social Influence
  2. 2. Social Influence So what is ‘Social Influence?’ …the ways in which external social factors alter our behaviour. Conformity: a type of social influence where we choose to go along with the majority (Majority Influence). E.g. Peer Pressure or Fashion Trends We can yield publicly or privately.
  3. 3. Social Influence Today we will take this further by considering… • What is conformity? • Why do people conform? • How does conformity take shape in real life?
  4. 4. Social Influence First studied by Sherif (1936) Sherif: ‘people use the behaviour of others to decide what to do.’ Studied ‘autokinetic effect’ an optical illusion in which a stationary spot of light in a room looks like it’s moving. Asked participants individually to estimate how far the light moved. The second time around they were placed in groups of 3. Participants changed their individual views and converged on a group estimate or ‘norm.’ But why do we choose to conform..?
  5. 5. Social Influence How many sweets are there? Pass the jar of sweets around the classroom. Write down the answer on your individual white board. Do this on your own! Keep it secret! Hide your answer until everyone has finished.
  6. 6. Social Influence So what did we find…? In pairs discuss: 1) Did you change your answer the second time? 2) If so, why did you change your answer? 3) What did you base your second answer on? 4) How did you feel whilst you were making your guesses? 5) What do you think the experiment is trying to show?
  7. 7. Social Influence Jenness’ (1932) Jelly Beans First study on conformity: 1) Asked individuals to guess how many jelly beans were in a jar individually. 2) The group then had to arrive at a group estimate. 3) He interviewed the individuals after and asked them if they would like to change their estimate. Almost all changed it in line with the group estimate.
  8. 8. Issues with the previous research • Sherif and Jenness both used ambiguous situations to investigate conformity. • Little was known about conformity in nonambiguous situations (where the answer was clear/obvious)
  9. 9. Social Influence Why do we conform? Informational influence During an uncertain situation, we desire to be correct and look to our social group for answers.
  10. 10. Social Influence Conforming for informational reasons leads to… Internalisation When an individual is exposed to the views of a group, they validate or examine their own beliefs. They may convince themselves that they are wrong and the group is right. This leads to public and private acceptance of the group’s beliefs – e.g. they internalise these beliefs, producing attitude change.
  11. 11. Social Influence Why do we conform? http://ww com/watc h?v=uuvG h_n3I_M
  12. 12. Social Influence Task: Lift Experiment In pairs think about and discuss: 1) What was happening in the experiment? 2) What was influencing behaviour? 3) Why were the men conforming in this experiment?
  13. 13. Social Influence Why do we conform? Normative influence E.g. Facebook: ‘Be the first of your friends to like this’
  14. 14. Social Influence Conforming in order to fit in with a group (normative influence) leads to… Compliance When an individual is exposed to the views/actions of a majority, they engage in social comparison. Because identifying with a majority is desirable, they change their views/actions to fit in with them. They go along with the majority without analysing why there is a difference. e.g. Following Social Norms or Social Roles (Unwritten societal rules) – Leaving a tip for the waiter even if you don’t believe in it, just because its customary to. This results in Public Compliance, without Private Attitude Change
  15. 15. Social Influence To Finish: When have you conformed? Think of and write down two times in which you have conformed. Make sure you write down the situation and what you did to conform. Pass your sheet to the person on your left. Think about the points in front of you. Why did conformity occur? Was it due to normative or informational influence?