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Slides l

Spec content

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Asch’s Stimuli

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Asch’s Group

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The Asch Experiment

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Some Factors Affecting Obedience

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Other Research into Conformity

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Homework

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PSYA2 - Social Influence (Conformity)

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Conformity

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Conformity in a Public Setting (Asch, 1951) Aims and Procedures l

To find out how people would behave on an unambiguous task - i.e. when the ‘correct’ answer was clear.

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123 male American undergraduates were tested individually in groups of confederates, each was asked to state whether 'standard' line same as other one of three other lines.

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Specification Content Social Influence l

Types of conformity, including internalisation and compliance

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Explanations of why people conform, including informational social influence and normative social influence.

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Obedience, including Milgram’s work and explanations of why people obey

Social Influence in Everyday Life l

Explanations of independent behaviour, including how people resist pressures to conform and pressures to obey authority

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The influence of individual differences on independent behaviour, including locus of control

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Implications for social change of research into social influence

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What do we mean by conformity?

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Doing as others do

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Aims for today l

Look at what is meant by conformity

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Look at the Asch Experiment

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Some specific factors affecting the tendency of people to conform

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Studies of Conformity including, Asch, Perrin & Spencer.

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Criticisms of research and explanations of conformity studies.

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Target

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A

B

C


Target

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A

B

C

D


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Conformity in a Public Setting (Asch, 1951)

Results and Conclusions lď Ź

36.8% of responses by participants conformed to unanimous confederates. Other important findings - 25% of participants never gave a wrong answer and 75% conformed at least once. Shows that the physical presence of others acts as powerful force in encouraging conformity.

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Some Factors Affecting Conformity (From Asch) l

Task Difficulty: The more difficult the task (lines more similar in size) the more likely we are to conform.

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Size of the Group: Groups of one or two produced little if any conformity however conformity rose to about 30% but remained stable after that.

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Status of the Group: If the group was perceived to be high in status (intelligent, competent, attractive and so on) in some way conformity was more likely.

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Social Support: When another person expressed disagreement with the group conformity was dramatically reduced.

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Asch’s Research and Ecological Validity

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Asch’s research has been criticised on the grounds that it differs significantly from real life, in real life we are rarely forced to give an opinion of things we care little about and when unsure of ourselves we can ask for more information. Moreover the group itself is artificial and brought together only for the purposes of the experiment (again different from real life).

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Ecological validity is the extent to which a piece of research is similar or different to real life. If research differs significantly from real life it is said to be low in EV.

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Other Research into Conformity l

Historical Bias: Conformity Research is said to be a ‘child of its time‘ - later research usually failed to replicate Asch’s original results (e.g Perrin and Spencer’s Studies)

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Gender Differences: Early studies suggested women were more conforming than men - however this result is widely disputed (see Revision guide Guide).

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Culture: Research suggests that conformity (as might be expected) is higher in collectivist cultures than individualist cultures because consensus and agreement are highly valued.

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Different Types of Conformity

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Compliance: Involves simply going along with the group to gain approval or avoid disapproval; with compliance we publicly change our position but privately retain our own beliefs. Compliance is a ‘shallow’ form of conformity as it doesn’t involve a true change of belief, opinion or attitude.

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Internalisation: Involves accepting the point of view of others, that is internalising that belief. This represents a much deeper and significant form of behavioural change as it represent a real change in belief, attitude and so on.

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Explanations of Why We Conform lď Ź

Normative Influence: Sometimes we feel pressure to conform be cause we want to be accepted, liked or fear rejection by the group. This is highly likely when we perceive the group as attractive (an in-group). This type of social influence often leads to a change in our publicly stated position but our private position may remain un-changed (compliance).

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Informational Influence: This is a more significant form of social influence and occurs because the individual feels unsure of themselves - anything which makes us less sure of what the correct position is, such as a larger group or a more ambiguous (difficult) task is likely to to increase this source of influence. This form of social influence is more likely to lead to a true change in belief (internalisation).

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Explanations of Why We Conform Motivation

Characteristics

of ourselves Informational •Lack expertise •Others higher status

Response

•Unsure

•Want

Normative

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to be liked •Fear rejection •Attracted to group

Internalisation

Compliance


Conformity 2013