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What are the differences between conformity, obedience and compliance?
- Conformity: change in behaviour to match the opinions of behaviour of others
- Obedience: change in behaviour due to a direct order from someone in a position of authority
- Compliance: change in behaviour due to direct pressure from others
- Different to conformity as it involves direct pressure, not just mimicry
- Similar to conformity as it can come from anyone
- Different from obedience as it can come from anyone and manifests in the form of pressure, not explicit demands
- Similar to obedience as it can also come from people in positions of power
How has autokinesis been used to investigate conformity?
- Sherif (1936)
- Autokinesis is the phenomenon in which a stationary light appears to move when contrasted with a dark, featureless space
- Asked people to estimate the amount of movement over 4 days and confederates also made guesses with them
- Confederates guessed similarly and significantly lower
- By day 4 all three predictions were similar
What is informational social influence?
- Occurs when the situation or answer is ambiguous
- There is no feedback about right or wrong answers
- There are no physical or objective means of testing it
- There is no clear correct answer
- Involves conforming with the group because you think their estimates are more accurate than your own, these are often internalised too
- One year after Sherif (1936) the participants were asked to predict the movement of light on their own and still based them off the group predictions
When is informational social influence most powerful?
- When there is no social 'script' to follow
- The situation is unknown or ambiguous
- In a crisis situation in which there is no time to think about one's own opinion
- When an expert is present (they can think for you)
- When the task is more difficult
Does social influence still happen when situations are not ambiguous?
- Yup- Asch (1951)
- Line experiment where the confederates were blatantly wrong
- Conformity still happened with people doubting themselves
What is normative social influence?
- Conformity due to a desire to be liked and to fit in
- Demonstrated by Asch (1951)
- We are social creatures and we have a need to belong
- Also demonstrated more recently, houses that received more normative messages about the recycling habits of their neighbours recycled more (Schultz, 1999)
Which factors increase the effect of normative social influence?
- Group size
- Group unanimity
- Construal of situation
What is the difference between injunctive and descriptive social norms?
- Injunctive: perceptions of behaviours which are either approved or disapproved of and expectations about behaviour based on social roles and positions
- Descriptive: perceptions about the way people act and what they do (such as queuing for the cinema)
- Violation of these norms is punished by withdrawal of social acceptance and support and adherence is rewarded with positive evaluations, reinforcing norm specific behaviour
- People are more adept at detecting violations of social norms than violations of logic (Cosmides, 1989)
What is the backlash effect?
- Rudman (1998)
- Social and economic reprisals for behaving counter-stereotypically
- Women are perceived as less competent and ambitious so are overlooked for leadership positions unless they act this way
- When in positions of power, women face backlash with both attitude and cooperation leading to lower job satisfaction and higher turnover
When are norms more likely to be adhered to?
- When situations are:
- Highly emotional
- Taking place after cognitive resources have already been diminished
- These norms provide action heuristics, or scripts of how to act
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