A / AS Level Psychology - Social Influence

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Paper 1 Introductory Topic in Psychology


Martin Luther King

Maria Montessori

Nelson Mandela


Rosa Parks



Social Influence 3.1.1 SOCIAL INFLUENCE SYLLABUS The book to be used with this topic is: AQA Psychology for A Level Year 1 & AS by Cara Flanagan (2015)

Types of conformity

❖ Internalisation, identification and compliance

Explanations for conformity:

❖ Informational social influence and normative social influence, and variables affecting conformity including group size, unanimity and task difficulty as investigated by Asch. ❖ Conformity to social roles as investigated by Zimbardo

Explanations for obedience:

❖ Agentic state and legitimacy of authority, and situational variables affecting obedience including proximity, location and uniform, as investigated by Milgram. ❖ Dispositional explanation for obedience: the Authoritarian Personality

Explanations of resistance to social influence:

❖ Including social support and locus of control

Minority influence:

❖ Including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility. ❖ The role of social influence processes in social change

Students will be expected to: ❖ demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies ❖ research methods and ethical issues in relation to the specified Paper 1 content ❖ Apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the specified Paper 1 content in a range of contexts ❖ Analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the specified Paper 1 content ❖ Evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness. ❖ Knowledge and understanding of research methods, practical research skills and mathematical skills ❖ Mathematical requirements and exemplifications will be assessed in Paper 1.


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Social Influence ❖ These skills should be developed through study of the specification content and through ethical practical research activities, involving: ❖ designing research ❖ conducting research ❖ analysing and interpreting data. ❖ In carrying out practical research activities, students will manage associated risks and use information and communication technology (ICT).

Read pages 212 – 217 of the textbook for the main skills you need to develop: 1. Description of psychological knowledge such as concepts, research studies and theories (A0l) 2. Application of psychological knowledge - apply what you have learnt to a scenario (A02) 3. Evaluation of psychological knowledge – strengths and limitations (A03)


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Social Influence What is conformity? Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behaviour in order to fit in with a group. This change is in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms / expectations) group pressure. Conformity can also be simply defined as “yielding to group pressures” (Crutchfield, 1954). Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism etc. Conformity is also known as majority influence (or group pressure).

According to Kellman (1958) there are three types of conformity:


Identification •

The most superficial, where a person publicly changes behaviour to fit in with the group while privately disagreeing. In other words, conforming to the majority (publicly), in spite of not really agreeing with them (privately).

This is much deeper. We conform because we want to be like the primary influence. The more attractive the individual or group the longer lasting the conforming behaviour. We may want to be liked or accepted by those we see as role models.

This is seen in Asch’s line experiment.

Internalisation This is the deepest level of conformity. Publicly changing behaviour to fit in with the group and also agreeing with them privately. This is seen in Sherif’s autokinetic experiment.

Think of examples of when you have conformed using the three types of conformity


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Social Influence Explanations for Conformity Large groups in society tend to exert a great influence over small groups. This area of psychology, covers one of the most interesting and controversial areas in Psychology. It tells us a great deal about how people in society behave. We hear of people always trying to change society. Is it possible to resist a point of view held by the majority? Why is it that some people appear to exert control over others? The term conformity is often used to indicate an agreement to the majority position, brought about by uncertainty with what is right or wrong. For example, if you are unsure of the answer to a question and the majority of people in class agree on an answer, you accept the answer because you think they are right – informational social influence, which leads to internalisation. A desire to ‘fit in’ with a group is normative social influence or simply to conform to a social role. It should be remembered that without conformity society would not function. In the majority of real life situations conformity is seen as good.

Explanations for Conformity Normative Social Influence

Informational Social Influence

Need to be liked or accepted

Need to be certain

ASCH STUDY This happens when we go along with the crowd because we want to be accepted or liked or because we want to avoid embarrassment or being ridiculed. Real life examples: {Smoking because others in your peer group smoke. Dressing like your friends in order to fit in or avoid bullying; having a conservatory built because the neighbours have

SHERIF STUDY This happens when there is no obvious right answer so we look to others for information in order to be right. Real life examples: {Looking at the people around you in a posh restaurant to see what knife and fork to use. Putting on car lights in the evening when others start to do the same}.

Seek information to reduce our uncertainty Others are able to reward or punish us

Look to others for guidance Conflict can arise between our own and other’s opinions




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Social Influence Research Studies supporting Informational Social Influence (ISI) There are different types of research which show the strength of (ISI). One of the earliest studies into conformity was carried out by Sherif.

Sherif (1935) Autokinetic Effect Experiment What was he doing and why?: Sherif (1935) conducted an experiment with the aim of demonstrating that people conform to group norms when they are put in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation. What did he do? Sherif used a lab experiment to study conformity. He used the autokinetic effect – this is where a small spot of light (projected onto a screen) in a dark room will appear to move, even though it is still (i.e. it is a visual illusion). The effect is caused by the movement of the eye therefore participant s tend to be uncertain about the accuracy of their answer. When participants were individually tested their estimates on how far the light moved varied considerably (e.g. from 20cm to 80cm). The participants were then tested in groups of three and they gave similar answers. Sherif manipulated the composition of the group by putting together two people whose estimate of the light movement when alone was very similar, and one person whose estimate was very different. Each person in the group had to say aloud how far they thought the light had moved. What did he find? Sherif found that over numerous estimates (trials) of the movement of light, the group converged to a common estimate: the person whose estimate of movement was greatly different to the other two in the group conformed to the view of the other two. Sherif said that this showed that people would always tend to conform. Rather than make individual judgments they tend to come to a group agreement. Conclusions: The results show that when in an ambiguous situation (such as the autokinetic effect), a person will look to others (who know more / better) for guidance (i.e. adopt the group norm). They want to do the right thing but may lack the appropriate information. Observing others can provide this information. This is known as informational conformity and leads to internalisation of the information.

Evaluation ❖ Another research support for Informational Social influence was by Lucas (2006) who found that students were more likely to conform in hard maths problems than easy ones, also finding that a participant’s confidence in his/her own skill at maths was also a factor in conformity. ❖ Fein et al (2007) found that viewing other people’s reactions to US presidential debates altered the judgements they made of the candidates.

Research Study supporting Normative Social Influence


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Social Influence Perhaps the most famous conformity experiment was by Solomon Asch (1951) and his line judgement experiment

Watch the video. Why did the person conform? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sno1TpCLj6A

Asch (1951) – Line Judgement Experiment Asch (1951) devised an experiment whereby there was an obvious answer to a line judgement task. If the participant gave an incorrect answer it would be clear that this was due to group pressure. Aim: Solomon Asch conducted an experiment to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform. Procedures: Asch used a lab experiment to study conformity. Using the line judgement task Asch put a naive participant in a room with seven confederates. The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task. ❖ The real participants did not know this and was led to believe that the other seven participants were also real participants like themselves. Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious. ❖ The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last. In some trials, the seven confederates gave the wrong answer. There were 18 trials in total and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trials. Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view.

Target line

Findings: Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view. On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed to the clearly incorrect majority. Conclusions: This suggests that social influence of the group is powerful even when the task


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Social Influence is unambiguous. It also highlights individual differences; some participants never conformed and others conformed in every trial. Why did the participants conform so readily? When they were interviewed after the experiment, most of them said that they did not really believe their conforming answers, but had gone along with the group for fear of being ridiculed or thought "peculiar". A few of them said that they really did believe the group's answers were correct.

Variations on Asch’s original procedure In further trials, Asch changed the procedure of his study in order to investigate which factors influenced the level of conformity:

Size of group • • •

Asch found that conformity tends to increase as the size of the group increases. However, there is little change in conformity once the group size reaches 4-5. With one other person (i.e. confederate) in the group conformity was 3%, with two others it increased to 13% and with three or more it was 32% (or 1/3). Because conformity does not seem to increase in groups larger than four, this is considered the optimal group size.

Social Support / Unanimity Asch demonstrated there were high levels of conformity when the confederates unanimously gave the incorrect responses. When the participant has a supporter who also gives the correct answer the rate of conformity decreased to 5.5%, suggesting that conformity is only high when the group is completely unopposed.

Non conforming role model • •

When one other person in the group gave a different answer from the others, conformity dropped. Asch (1951) found that even the presence of just one confederate that goes against the majority choice can reduce conformity as much as 80%.

Giving answers in private When participants could write their answers down rather than announce them in public, conformity dropped.

Task difficulty When Asch made the line judging task more difficult by making the differences between line lengths smaller, the rate of conformity increased. This shows that informational social influence plays a role when the task becomes harder.

Evaluation Changes over time and the social climate ❖ The original study by Asch was carried out in 1950s USA. America was a very paranoid society, fearful of Communism. People were afraid of appearing different or stepping out of line, so it is not surprising that Asch found such levels of conformity. Asch’s study was considered to be “A child of its time”. ❖ Later studies by Perrin & Spencer (1980) have found much lower levels of conformity. However, some of these studies were on engineering students at a British University. Since they were experts on accurate measurement of length it is not surprising that they


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Social Influence failed to conform. Out of several hundred trials Perrin & Spencer found only one incidence of conformity, despite the students being ‘very puzzled’ by the confederates bizarre answers! ❖ They argue that a cultural change had taken place in the value placed on conformity and obedience and in the position of students. However, the nature of Perrin and Spencer’s sample could have also had an effect because students of engineering, maths and chemistry may have been more confident in performing the task because of the nature of their studies. ❖ When the study was carried out on young men on probation the rate of conformity was similar to those reported by Asch.

Evaluation of Asch and Sherif’s Studies ❖ Asch and Sherif both studied complex social situations by using simple tasks in a laboratory. This is known as reductionism, which can be a criticism of experimental studies. ❖ Both studies are very artificial so lack ecological validity. Can we generalise from this to real life situations? ❖ The Sherif study does involve deception since participants are told the light is moving when it is not, so there are ethical concerns. ❖ In Asch’s study all participants were male students who all belonged to the same age group (biased sample as andocentric). The task (judging line lengths) was artificial (low in ecological validity) as it is unlikely to happen in everyday life. Therefore, it is not similar to a real life situation demonstrating conformity.

Ethical issues ❖ Participants were deceived so were unable to give their informed consent. ❖ Note: whenever confederates are used there is always deception. ❖ Right to withdraw. Participants were clearly stressed and some must have been embarrassed by the procedure and suffered some loss of self esteem once they had been informed that it had all been a big con. This all constitutes ‘psychological harm.’

Cultural differences in Conformity If we consider culture in broader terms rather than narrow nationalistic ways, we can break societies into two broad kinds: 1. Individualistic: for example Western European Societies where the need to be independent and self sufficient is taught as the ideal. 2. Collectivistic: for example China, Japan and some African cultures where the needs of the family and larger social group are seen as more important. Smith & Bond (1993) carried out a meta-analysis and found that collectivist societies tend to be more conformist, since they rely on each other to a much greater extent than individuals in the West.

Answer questions 1 to 3: page 19 of textbook


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Social Influence To some extent, conformity can be explained by individual temperament and personality. These personality characteristics can be very influential. People with low self-esteem, a need for approval, and feelings of insecurity or anxiety will usually conform more readily than other people. However, the behaviour of the same individuals will vary on different occasions and in different situations.

External Locus of Control Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances. These people see things outside their control. They are less confident, insecure and nervous. These individuals are the exact opposite of the internals.

Internal Locus of Control Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by his/her personal decisions and efforts. These people are confident and secure, have a positive outlook and no real need for external approval. High internals are usually risk takers in society, less conformist and less obedient. Can have a big influence, e.g. business leaders: communities can be changed by entrepreneurs

Conformity to Social Roles as Investigated by Zimbardo Social roles are powerful and their influences are subtle. They are behaviours expected of us in different situations. There are pressures put on us to conform to those roles. The following research theories and studies illustrate this: social impact theory and Zimbardo’s role play study.

Write down some examples of different social roles you play, for example; student, games captain......


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Social Influence Zimbardo’s Stanford prison simulation (1973) ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jdOoxnr7AI

Watch the video

The Aim: whether the participants would conform to a social role defined by culture/society. ❖ A mock prison was built in the basement of Stanford University and a group of university students were randomly allocated the role of prisoner or guard. The guards were instructed to ‘maintain a reasonable degree of order within the prison necessary for effective functioning’. ❖ Both guards and prisoners were screened before the study and deemed to be “normal, healthy male college students who were predominantly middle class and white.” The 24 participants did not know each other prior to the study. The prisoners remained in the mock prison for 24 hours a day and the guards worked on an 8 hour shift – allowing them to return home at the end of their shift. The study was ended after 6 days... ❖ Five prisoners had to be released earlier because of extreme emotional depression. The guards’ behaviour towards the prisoners had become so demeaning and inhumane, it was clear they had become immersed into their prison guard roles. ❖ Prisoners minds ventured far from the reality of the situation as they were continuously woken during the night, deprived of basic human rights and forced to perform degrading exercises for the guards own amusement. ❖ Zimbardo himself became so immersed in his role as Prison Superintendent; he found his ability to be impartial was compromised. ❖ Zimbardo believes that the study demonstrates the powerful effect roles can have on peoples’ behaviour and how we conform to these roles. ❖ Basically the participants were playing the role that they thought was expected of, either a prisoner or prison guard. The study provides a situational explanation for behaviour – any person when put in the wrong situation is capable of behaviour they did not think was possible.

Evaluation of Zimbardo’s Study •

A main strength of the study was the way it managed to maintain some degree of control and some ecological validity. The situation was very tightly controlled e.g. guards and prisoners were randomly allocated and were selected using a stringent criterion. The study still had ecological validity because Zimbardo went to great extremes in making the study as true to life as possible, for example in the way that he had the prisoners arrested from their homes. A further strength was in the way that Zimbardo collected data. He used a number of qualitative approaches such as observation (sometimes overt and sometimes covert) interviews and questionnaires.


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Social Influence Method: The experiment was a role play so it lacks realism with participants behaving as they think they should behave. • However, there is evidence that the guards were not just simply role playing. For example their brutal behaviour was not there at the start but developed over the first few days and they did not play up to the cameras as might be expected. In fact their behaviour was worse when they knew they were not being observed. • Making some participants prisoners and some guards introduced demand characteristics, as the participants acted how they believed they were supposed to behave; rather than their real behaviour.

Ethics: Consent was obtained in advance and participants were told the nature of the research. •

But, participants were not told that they would be arrested by real police officers and strip searched. • Right to withdraw at best appears dubious. • Although Zimbardo claims they were free to leave, and indeed some did, word got round to the prisoners that this was not the case. • Participants were clearly subjected to physical and psychological harm. • There is still a debate as to whether the experiment should have been stopped sooner, which brings into question Zimbardo’s dual role as researcher and self appointed ‘prison governor.’ However, in defence of Zimbardo, therapeutic debriefing was given to all those who took part. There has not been research support for Zimbardo’s study: • Haslam and Reicher (2006) partially replicated the study. The results were very different. The guards did not form a group authority; the prisoners actually challenged the guards’ authority and were disobedient. • This challenges Zimbardo’s explanation and proposes that individuals follow the norm of their group rather than the situational roles they have been given. • The implications of Zimbardo’s study are far reaching. Although it was performed 35 years ago it still raises important issues that are important today. • Zimbardo says the Stanford prison experiment findings go a long way to describing the dangerous and explosive situation the army guards and Iraqi prisoners were in. What is it that makes us evil? If you put people in a certain situation, without careful thought as to the possible consequences, the results might not be desirable. • At the end of the Iraq war, images of American soldiers were broadcast on the news. They showed the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the American army guards. *

*Abu Ghraib Prison torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the Americans from 2003 to 2004. Zimbardo noticed there were some similarities between the behaviour of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib and the guards at the Stanford prison study.


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Social Influence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRZEvNnyqlA

Watch this video

Deindividuation Why did the participants in Zimbardo’s study act the way they did? • Zimbardo thought that the situational factors in the study led people to become deindividualised; that is they lost their personal identity which allowed them to accept the role they had been given. • The prisoners wore identical smocks which removed their individuality; • the prisoners were called by their prisoner number which dehumanised them; • The guards wore reflective glasses that did not give eye contact, wore uniforms and carried batons which made them different to the prisoners, although they were all allocated the roles randomly.

1. Explain how deindividualisation could be applied to the torture of Iraqi prisoners by the Americans from 2003 to 2004. 2. Discuss research into conformity to social roles (12/16) marks) 2. Discuss research into conformity to social roles (16 marks) 8 marks for explanation and 8 marks for evaluation. Also refer to your text book. Essay plan • Concerns about treatment of prisoners by prison guards across America. • Zimbardo wanted to find out why prison guards behaved this way - conformed to social roles: situational or personality (dispositional factors) • Explain how Zimbardo carried out his study - his procedure • Findings / results • Conclusions • Deindividuation – explain how when in a group situation people no longer act as individuals; give example • Evaluation of the Stanford Prison experiment.


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Social Influence Social Impact Theory Latane and Wolf (1981): An example of how sociocultural behaviour may be activated in real life situations and influence conformity This theory proposes that a person’s behaviour can be predicted in terms of three factors. Social impact refers to changes that occur in a person (cognitive, behavioural and emotional) due to the presence or actions of others. This can be explained in the following ways: •

Strength: A message is stronger if it is repeated by a lot of people who are all in agreement. This equates to Moscovici’s ‘consistency.’ You are more likely to be convinced that War on Iraq is right if all of your friends are in agreement. Status and knowledge: The message will be strengthened if the person doing the convincing is an expert in the field. A person who has lived under the Saddam Regime is likely to be more convincing than a politician who has never visited the area. Immediacy: The message will have more impact if it comes from friends rather than strangers. Your friend trying to convince you of the need for war is going to have more impact than a person you have just met in the pub.

Dynamic Social Impact Theory In 1996 Bibbe Latane took the theory a stage further and proposed a method by which beliefs ‘diffuse’ through social systems. Immediacy is a crucial part of the original theory suggesting that we are most likely to be influenced by those close to us, perhaps geographically. In this way, Latane believed that localised cultures of beliefs could build up, with people in one area sharing a particular view that may be different to that shared by others in different areas. The result could be clusters of attitudes or beliefs, perhaps with minority views being established in specific geographic locations. Real life examples of this could include pockets of racism that build up in parts of the North West. During local election campaigns in the early 2000s the BNP (British National or Nazi Party took advantage of this. Once such groups develop they become shielded from outside majority groups so the beliefs are never challenged and gain a firm footing. Over time opinions on other, unrelated issues, might also start to conform.


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Social Influence Obedience to Authority, including Milgram’s work and explanations of why people obey Watch this video. Why did the participants obey? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnYUl6wlBF4

Adolf Hitler founded the Schutzstaffel (SS) in April of 1925, as a group of personal bodyguards

Social influence can be direct and straightforward. At home parents are seen as figures of authority. In the case of education, instructions for work are usually given by teachers, as figures of authority, and carried out by students. In both cases the relationship is likely to be seen as reasonable.

Historical perspective One of the most famous studies of obedience in psychology was carried out by Stanley Milgram (1963). Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted a study focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience.

He examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defence often was based on "obedience" - that they were just following the orders of their superiors. The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question "Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?" (Milgram, 1974). Milgram’s Obedience study (1963): Stanley Milgram claimed that in the right situation, ordinary people will obey orders from those in authority, even if obedience goes against their deeply held moral beliefs. He devised an experiment in which the participants were asked to administer electric shocks of increasing severity to confederates working with Milgram. Aim: Milgram investigated whether people would obey a legitimate authority figure wearing a grey lab coat (like a uniform) even if they were asked to do something which was clearly morally wrong – injure another person. Stanley Milgram was interested in how easily ordinary people could be influenced into committing atrocities, for example, Germans in WWII.


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Social Influence The experimenter (E) persuades the participant (S) to give what the participant believes are painful electric shocks to another participant (A), who is actually an actor and confederate of Milgram. Many participants continued to give shocks despite pleas for mercy from the actor. Procedure: Participants volunteered for a study of memory and learning. This took place at the Yale University psychology department. • •

When they arrived, they were met by the experimenter wearing a grey lab coat. They were introduced to a Mr. Wallace who was a confederate pretending to be another participant.

The experimenter told the naïve participant and ‘Mr. Wallace’ that the experiment was about the effects of punishment on learning. One of them would be the ‘teacher’ and the other would be the ‘learner’. • Things were always rigged in such a way that Mr. Wallace was always the learner, and the naïve participant the teacher. • The experimenter explained that the punishment was to take the form of electric shocks. All three then went into an adjoining room. There, the experimenter strapped Mr Wallace into a chair with his arms attached to electrodes. • The teacher was to deliver the shocks via shock generator. This was situated in another room. • The generator had a number of switches. Each switch was clearly marked with a voltage level, starting at 15 volts and a verbal description (‘slight shock’). Each switch gave a shock 15 volts higher than the one before. The last switch gave 450 volts. • The teacher was instructed to deliver a shock each time Mr Wallace made a mistake on a paired-associate word task. • Mr Wallace indicated his answer by switching on one of four lights located above the shock generator. With each successive mistake, the teacher had to give the next highest shock (that is, 15 volts higher than the one before). • At 300 volts, Mr Wallace kicked against the wall that adjoined the two rooms. After 315 volts, he stopped kicking and also stopped responding to the teacher’s questions. • The teacher was instructed to keep on shocking if Mr Wallace stopped answering. Whenever a participant tried to pull out of the experiment, the experimenter would give them a ‘verbal prod’ instructing them to continue. After 4 verbal prods, participants were permitted to stop shocking Mr Wallace. Findings: 65% (two-thirds) of participants (i.e. teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. Qualitative data were also collected: Many teacher-participants showed signs of extreme distress, such as twitching or giggling nervously, digging their nails into their flesh, and verbally attacking the experimenter.

SITUATIONAL VARIABLES AFFECTING OBEDIENCE Milgram did more than one experiment – he carried out 18 Situational variations of his study. He altered the proximity - physical closeness of the teacher to the learner; AAFoster

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Social Influence location and wearing everyday clothes rather than lab coat (uniform) to see how these variables affected obedience. Variation Standard procedure Closer proximity Touch proximity Location: Less prestigious setting An ally (someone with him) Less responsibility Uniform: Person in ordinary clothing

How it was done Teacher and learner in adjacent rooms Teacher 1 metre from learner Teacher has to push learner’s hand onto electrodes Experiment repeated in a run down office

% Obedience 63% 40% 30%

A stooge/participant disagrees with the experimenter A stooge /participant give the shocks when the ‘teacher’ says so. The experimenter played by a confederate in ordinary clothing, not lab coat (uniform)



92% 20%

Remember: No shocks were ever received

Conclusions: ❖ Milgram concluded that if a figure has legitimate authority, ordinary people would obey their demands to do extraordinary things even though these demands were clearly morally wrong. ❖ Milgram also concluded that evil deeds were not necessarily carried out by evil people, but the acts were due, partly, to the situation in which it took place. ❖ However, a person’s disposition or personality may drive them to make a particular decision. These situational and dispositional factors are important factors as for why people obey. Milgram’s findings have been confirmed by others and there appear to be few sex differences. Although his original study was only carried out on men others have shown the same effect with women participants. The experiment has also been replicated around the World. Below are some cross cultural findings.

Evaluation of Milgram’s work can be split into two main sections: Methodology or validity: Experimental validity and Ecological validity


1a. Experimental (or internal) Validity Did the participants taking part in the study actually believe that they were administering electric shocks to Mr Wallace? If they did then the study has internal validity. Orne & Holland (1968) made a number of claims, each of which was refuted or denied by Milgram:


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Social Influence Orne & Holland's claim The participants realised that the set up was not real. The participants obeyed because of the lab conditions, simply doing as was expected of them. Obedience was due to payment in advance and the idea that a contract had been entered into.

Milgram's defence 70% of participants in later studies report afterwards that they thought it was genuine. This criticism seems to be missing the point. Milgram was trying to show that the situations we find ourselves in could cause obedience. This does happen in everyday life. Presumably the SS were paid for their services in WW II.

1b. Ecological (or external) Validity Can the results of the experiment be generalised to situations outside of the laboratory setting? Since the person in the white lab coat was an authority figure, then Milgram believes that it can be generalised. After all he was trying to show that we do obey such people in real life.


Ethics of Milgram

Criticism Measures were not taken to protect participants from physical or psychological harm

By who Baumrind (1964)

The right to withdraw from the experiment was not made clear to participants.

Coolican (1990)

Use of phrases such as ‘You have no choice, you must go on,’ would suggest participants did not have a choice. The experiment should have been stopped. Although participants gave their consent to take part, this was not informed since they did not know the purpose of the study or what it would entail. Deception was used.

Baumrind (1964)

Milgram’s defence The results were unexpected. Before starting Milgram asked professionals for their opinions. Most thought the teacher would stop when the learner protested. Milgram believes that they did have the right to withdraw, in fact, some did.

Milgram did not believe the distress caused was sufficient to warrant stopping! Milgram refers to deception as ‘technical illusions.’ Without them the experiment would have been meaningless.

Other points on the ethics of Milgram’s study: Milgram's main defence centres on the debriefing that all participants received afterwards. During this, participants were reassured about their behaviour: • • • • • • • • •

They were reunited with an intact Mr Wallace They were assured that no shocks had been given. They were assured that their behaviour was normal! They all received a full report of the procedure and findings. They were all sent a questionnaire. 92% returned the questionnaire. Of these: 84% were glad or very glad that they had taken part. 74% claimed that they had learned something of 'personal importance.' Only 2% were sorry or very sorry that they had taken part. One year later, 40 of the participants were interviewed by a psychiatrist who concluded that none of them had suffered long term harm.


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Social Influence Cross cultural variations of the Milgram experiment Country USA

Researchers Milgram (1963)

Germany UK Jordan Australia Italy

Mantell (1971) Barley & McGuinness Shanab & Yahya (1978) Kilham & Mann (1974) Ancona & Pareyson (1968)

Participants Male, general population Female, general population Male, general population Male students Students Female students Students

% Obedience 65 65 85 50 62 16 85

Evaluation of Cross Cultural Studies •

The research does tend to confirm Milgram’s original findings. Most of the studies do suggest very high levels of obedience. However, it is difficult to make comparisons between studies since there are differences in their methodologies (the way they were carried out). Different studies have used different populations, i.e. some have used students, others the general population. Milgram used a mild mannered Mr. Wallace with a bad heart condition. In the Australian study a female student replaced him. In most scenarios the ‘learner‘was male; in the Australian study the learner she was female. In the Italian study the maximum shock was 330 Volts.

• • •

The study that does stand out is the Australian study but this was women giving shocks to other women. What conclusions can be drawn?

Other studies that appear to support Milgram It has been claimed that because Milgram’s study was a laboratory experiment, the behaviour was artificial, which questions the validity of the findings. Therefore we should examine studies outside the laboratory to compare. ❖ In a naturalistic study of obedience, Hofling et al (1966) studied 22 nurses working in various U.S. hospitals. A stooge ‘Dr Smith of the psychiatric department’ instructed them by telephone to give his patient Mr. ‘Jones’ 20 mg of a drug called Astrofen. Dr Smith was in a desperate hurry and said he had signed the drug authorisation form later when he came to see Mr. Jones. ❖ Astrofen was actually a dummy drug (a harmless sugar pill) invented just for the experiment. The label on the box clearly stated that the maximum daily dose was 10 mg, so, if the nurse obeyed Dr Smith’s instructions, she’d be giving twice the maximum dose. ❖ Also, hospital rules required that doctors sign the authorisation form before any drug was given. ❖ Another rule demanded that nurses should be absolutely sure that ‘Dr Smith’ was a genuine doctor. ❖ 21 out of the 22 nurses complied without hesitation. A control group of 22 nurses were asked what they would have done in that situation. 21 said that they would not have given the drug without written authorisation, especially as it exceeded the maximum daily dose.


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Social Influence ❖ Hofling concluded that the greater power and authority of doctors seem to influence nurses’ behaviour more than those rules do. Also what people actually do in a particular situation may be very different from what they say they would do. ❖ Although this experiment is ethically very disturbing since the nurses were tricked into illegal actions, it does have high experimental validity and high ecological validity.

Evaluation of Hofling’s study: • • • •

It is experimentally valid because the experimental situation is entirely believable. It was a field study that took place in an actual real-life setting and as such is telling us something about obedience in real life. The participants had little or no cause to suspect they were taking part in a psychology experiment. They fully believed they were acting on genuine instructions from a genuine doctor. There are clearly ethical problems with the study: (a) the nurses were deceived; (b) there was no consent; (c) No right to withdraw. The experiment is also ecologically valid because it has genuine real-world significance. It supports Milgram’s emphasis on the importance of authority in obedience. There is little doubt that the nurses believed they were carrying out the instructions of their ‘managers’ and that they had little or no right to dispute a doctor’s instructions – even though they would be acting illegally and risking their jobs and, perhaps, freedom in this case.

The power of the Uniform ❖ Bickman (1974) tested the ecological validity of Milgram’s work by conducting an experiment in a more realistic setting. In this study three male experimenters gave orders to 153 randomly selected pedestrians in Brooklyn, New York. The experimenters were dressed in one of three ways: a sports coat and tie, a milkman’s uniform, or guard’s uniform that made them look like a police officer. The experimenter gave 1 of 3 orders: • • • •

Pointing to a bag on the street, “Pick up this bag for me.” Nodding in the direction of a confederate “This fellow is over parked at the meter but doesn’t have any change. Give him a dime.” Approaching the participant at a bus stop, “Don’t you know you have to stand on the other side of the pole? This signs says ‘No standing’”.

Bickman found that participants were most likely to obey the experimenter dressed as a guard than the milkman or civilian. This supports one of the variations of Milgram’s findings, that obedience can be related to the amount of perceived authority.

Evaluation of Bickman’s study Field experiments may have increased ecological validity and mundane realism but the cost is decreased control. They also raise more ethical concerns because informed consent cannot be sought and it is difficult to debrief participants without alerting others to the experiment. Bickman’s study differs from Milgram’s in one important way: The orders were not quite so unreasonable; therefore obedience was more understandable.


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Social Influence

Who would you obey?

Social-Psychological Factors Explaining Obedience 1. Legitimate authority: Society gives power or authority to certain people that they are able to exercise over others. Obvious examples include the police. Many examples are situation specific, for examples teachers (supposedly) have authority in schools, traffic wardens in parking areas, doctors over their patients etc. Milgram, Hofling (1966) and Bickman (1974) studies are examples. Respect for authority clearly has its advantages in allowing for the smooth running of a society, and its rules are taught from a very early age. The problem comes when we blindly obey authority figures and as a result behave in an immoral way. This would help to explain some of the differences found in levels of obedience between different countries. Some countries such as Australia have a history of questioning authority whereas countries like Germany teach their children from an early age to respect authority. Evaluation: Page 23 According to Social Identity Theory why did Milgram’s participants obey? Explain why this is a limitation of Milgram’s conclusions on authority. Include research support for Milgram’s study (P.27)

2. Milgram's agency theory: This states that people operate on two levels: • As autonomous (i.e. independent) individuals, behaving voluntarily and aware of the consequences of their actions. • On the agentic level, seeing themselves as the agents of others and not responsible for their actions. The consequence of moving from the autonomous to the agentic level (known as the agentic shift) in that individuals’ place responsibility for their actions on the person in authority. At this agentic level, Milgram argued, people mindlessly accept the orders of the person seen as responsible in the situation. Milgram believed that this explained the behaviour of the participants in his study; they denied personal responsibility, claiming that they were merely "doing what they were told". You probably know that when those responsible for atrocities during World War II were asked why they did what they did, their answer was simply: "I was only obeying orders". Milgram believed this shift was possible because we are taught at an early age to obey without question. Once in the agentic state, we feel obligated to remain there due to:


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Social Influence (a) Fear of being rude and, (b) Fear of increasing our levels of anxiety by disobeying. Evaluation: Was Milgram correct about the agentic shift ? (See page27)

3. Graduated commitment. This is used by sales people and usually referred to as the foot in the door technique. If you get people to make a small commitment, i.e. buy a small item or give a small electric shock, you can then build up to bigger, expensive items or more ‘fatal’ shocks. So once we have agreed to a small concession, then in principle it becomes more difficult to refuse a larger one.

Summary of Why People Obey Situational factors

Role of Buffers

Milgram’s study shows that reasons for obedience are found in the situation, not in the person’s disposition or character. This goes against the dispositional hypothesis for the actions of the Nazis in the Holocaust, which was that “Germans are evil”. Zimbardo’s Prison study. The Learner and Teacher in Milgram’s study were in different rooms. Therefore the buffer was the distance between the teacher and the learner. If you cannot see your ‘victim’ it is easier to inflict shocks.

Legitimate Authority Personal Responsibility

People tend to obey authority figures that possess positions of power, such as Milgram. These include uniforms or rank. When people feel more responsible for their actions then obedience will decline. Milgram found that obedience declined when the learner was in the same room or when they were told that they were responsible. Agency Theory Milgram’s theory argues people are either in an autonomous state where they see themselves as responsible for their actions, or in the agentic state, where they act as an agent of another in authority, who becomes ultimately responsible. The move between the two is known as the “agentic shift”. Gradual The more people comply with the commands, the harder it becomes to stop Commitment even as they increase in severity. After giving the mild shocks, it becomes seemingly harder to stop (e.g. all the participants gave shocks of at least 150V). Dehumanisation It is easy to obey orders if the harm is being caused to people who might be made out to look like “lesser people”. Consider the Nazi propaganda of the Second World War, which made Jews and Gypsies out to be “sub-human”.

Do questions 1-3 page 27 Remember that Milgram varied his study. Ensure you know some of the variations, particularly for a 16 mark question


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Social Influence Dispositional Explanations for Obedience Authoritarian personality (Adorno, et al 1950) Like Milgram, Adorno and his team wanted to understand the behaviour of the Nazis during the Holocaust. However their focus was very different, they looked at personality factors and tried to identify personality traits to explain their behaviour. Procedure: Adorno carried out a study on over 2000 white middle-class Americans. His tests were designed to reveal unconscious attitudes towards minority groups. A number of scales were developed to measure: Anti-Semitism Ethnocentricity Political and economic conservatism Potentiality for fascism (F scale) Findings: Adorno et al found a positive correlation between the authoritarian personality and prejudice. Characteristics of an Authoritarian personality: The authoritarian personality was someone who is prejudiced because of specific personality traits which predispose them to be hostile towards ethnic, racial and other minority and out groups. This personality type is also likely to obey orders from people they perceive as being higher than them in the social hierarchy. Origins of the Authoritarian personality: Adorno went on to try to explain why people develop this type of personality and came to the conclusion that it was the result of harsh, punishing and disciplinarian upbringing where little affection was shown. He argued that these experiences created resentment and latent hostility towards parents which was displaced onto minority groups and /or projected onto these groups (the authoritarian felt threatened by them). This is a psychodynamic explanation (see approaches).

The F-scale measures facism which is an extreme right-wing ideology of someone with an authoritarian personality

What is fascism? A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasising an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Adorno and his co-workers devised a number of scales to measure the authoritarian personality, the one that became synonymous with authoritarianism being the F (fascism) scale. Someone scoring highly would have the following characteristics:


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Social Influence • • • • • • •

Rigid beliefs and inflexible Hostility to out-groups or anyone they perceive as different to themselves and their ingroups Intolerance of ambiguity, preferring simple issues with plain yes/no answers. Shades of grey would not be appreciated (especially not fifty of them ) Submissive to authority figures... always doing as they are told without question or hesitation Belief that people can be divided simply into weak and strong Belief that authority should be aggressive, for example support the use of capital and overly aggressive corporal punishment such as public beatings Believe homosexuals should be severely punished

Evaluation: Read page 29 of textbook The research was carried out using questionnaires. Read the extract of the F scale below: Can you see any problem with this questionnaire? You are forced to choose an option which may not be suitable, etc. The result of the study is correlational: only an association – you cannot establish cause and effect......

Can this theory explain that a whole nation became anti-Semitic? Why is it a limited explanation?

Milgram and Elms (1966) carried out a small scale study on the participants who had obeyed and shocked to 450V. They found a positive correlation between authoritarian personality and obedience. Does it support the explanation? Explain your answer:

McCourt et al (1999) believed the authoritarian personality to be inherited. Certainly MZ twins seem to have a higher concordance rate than DZ. However, MZ twins also have a more similar upbringing and shared environment. They are also always the same gender. This might explain the greater similarity. The southern states and ‘Bible-belt’ of the USA are notoriously more racist than the northern states, certainly in terms of their actions (discriminatory behaviour). However, when tested for authoritarian personality Pettigrew 1959, found that southerners were no more authoritarian than their northern cousins. However, the southern prejudice seemed to be limited to “Black” people with other groups such as Jews being no more discriminated against in the south as they were in the north. This led some researchers to view racism as a form of conformity. Once the prejudice had begun (in this case historically from slavery) it is maintained by others conforming to the beliefs of others. Miller (1975) instructed participants to grasp a live electric wire whilst working on a maths problem. Those scoring high on the F-scale were more likely to obey.


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Social Influence

Some of the items on the F scale For each statement, respondents are asked to decide whether they strongly agree, moderately agree, slightly agree, strongly disagree, moderately disagree, slightly disagree. The scale is arranged so that the higher scorers strongly agree with the statements and the low scorers strongly disagree with them. 1. Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn. 2. Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as they grow up they ought to get over them and settle down. 3. Sex crimes, such as rapes and attacks on children deserve more than mere imprisonment. Such criminals ought to be publicly whipped or worse. 4. When a person has a problem or worry, it is best for him not to think about it and keep himself busy with more cheerful things. 5. Someday it will probably be shown that astrology can explain a lot of things. 6. People can be divided into two distinct classes: the weak and the strong. 7. Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict. 8. Nowadays, when so many different kinds of people move around and mix together so much, a person has to protect himself especially carefully against catching infection or diseases from them. 9. The wild sex life of the old Greeks and Romans was tame compared to some of the goings-on in this country, even in places where people might least expect it.

Real life examples of the dangers of Obedience: These can be used as examples to illustrate psychological theory Much of the research into obedience has been inspired by real life examples of what can happen when we blindly follow orders. The Holocaust is one notable example, but unfortunately there have been more recent atrocities which demonstrate just how dangerous obedience can be. Read through the following examples and highlight the sections which demonstrate that obedience was a contributing factor. 1. The Mai Lai Massacre During the Vietnam War, United States Lieutenant William Calley commanded a platoon of a division named Charlie Company. In March 1968, Calley’s platoon had encountered heavy arms fire for several weeks, and many soldiers had been killed or badly wounded. Understandably, the members of Charlie Company were on edge during the morning of March 16, as they entered the village of My Lai (pronounced “Me Lie”), which was suspected of being a hideout for North Vietnamese soldiers. Although the platoon located no enemy soldiers in My Lai, they found hundreds of unarmed civilians. In response to Calley’s orders, the soldiers in Charlie Company began firing randomly at the villagers, none of whom had initiated combat. They bludgeoned several old men to death with the butts of their rifles and shot praying children and women in the head. Calley corralled a group of


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Social Influence civilians, forced them to walk into a ditch, and mowed them down in a barrage of machine gun fire. When all was said and done, the American platoon had brutally slaughtered about 500 innocent Vietnamese ranging in age from 1 to 82 years. What did Lieutenant Calley have to say about all of this? “I was ordered to go in there and destroy the enemy. That was my job that day. That was the mission I was given. I did not sit down and think in terms of men, women, and children. They were all classified the same.� Calley insisted that he was merely taking orders from his superiors and bore no direct responsibility for the massacre. In turn, the soldiers in Calley’s platoon claimed they were merely taking orders from Calley. Calley was convicted in 1971 of murder and sentenced to life in military prison, but President Richard Nixon intervened and Calley eventually served just three and a half years under house arrest. 2. The Abu Ghraib Prison torture mentioned above is on pages 11 -12 of the text book.

2004 2009


Complete questions 1 to 4 on page 29 of the textbook

Question 4: Discuss the Authoritarian personality as an explanation for obedience (16 marks) Essay plan Give an outline of the theory of the Authoritarian Personality saying why Adorno proposed it How he carried out the study: procedure Findings / results Conclusions Evaluation of the study including strengths and weaknesses (See page 23 and above)


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Social Influence Explanations of resistance to social influence: Including Social Support and Locus of Control Read Page 30 How do people resist pressures to conform? (Some examples from the Asch study) • • •

Social Support (non-conforming role model) Giving answers in private Size of group

Evaluation - Resistance to Conformity Allen and Levine (1971): They found that conformity decreased when there was one dissenter in an Asch-type study. More importantly, this occurred even if the dissenter wore thick glasses and said he had difficulty with his vision (so clearly in no position to judge the length of the lines.) This supports the view that resistance is not just motivated by following what someone else says – what else does this suggest?

How do people resist pressures to obey? (Some examples from the Milgram study) • •

Social support disobedient role model

Evaluation – Resistance to Obedience Gamson (1982): They found higher levels of resistance in their study than in Milgram’s. This was probably because participants in Gamson’s study were in groups. In this study the participants had to produce evidence that would be used to help an oil company run a smear campaign). They found that 29 out of 33 groups of participants (88%) rebelled against this. What does this suggest about peer support in regards to resistance to obedience?

Locus of control One factor that psychologists believe may have an effect on independent behaviour is whether we have an internal or external locus of control. People who have an internal LOC are more likely to be able to resist pressures to conform or obey. This makes sense if you think about it - if a person takes responsibility for their actions and experiences (good or bad) then they are more likely to base their decisions on their own beliefs and thus resist pressures from other people. Locus of Control (means location): explains personality differences. Locus of control refers to where an individual perceives the control to be. Are they themselves in control or are they being controlled? The locus of control influences how individuals respond.

External Locus of Control Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances. These people see things outside their control. They are less


Internal Locus of Control Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by his/her personal decisions and efforts. These people are confident and secure, have a positive outlook and no real

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Social Influence confident, insecure and nervous. These individuals are the exact opposite of the internals. External locus of control – I had a rubbish teacher. My little brother kept interrupting me when I tried to revise. The exam was on a really bad day.

need for external approval; more selfconfident, achievement orientated, have higher intelligence and have less need for social approval. High internals are usually risk takers in society, less conformist and less obedient. Can have a big influence, e.g. business leaders: communities can be changed by entrepreneurs. Example of Internal locus of control – “I really should have studied more. I know that I didn’t put as much effort into revision as I could have.”

See below locus of control questions devised by Rotter

Evaluation of the effect of locus of control on independent behaviour ❖ Holland (1967) repeated Milgram’s baseline study and measured whether participants were internal or external. ❖ He found that 37% of internals did not continue to the highest shock (showed resistance) ❖ However 23% of externals did not continue. ❖ Research support of this nature increases the validity of the LOC explanation and our confidence that it can explain resistance. HOWEVER Twenge (2004) analysed data from American obedience studies over a 40 year period (1960 to 2002). The data showed that, over this time span, people have become more resistant to obedience. However the role of LOC in resisting social influence could be exaggerated. Read the Limited Role of LOC on Page 31 of the textbook and include it here in your own words

Complete questions 1 to 4 on page 31of the textbook

For question 4: Describe and evaluate two explanations of resistance to social influence. Refer to evidence in your answer.


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Social Influence Rotter's Locus of Control Scale Identify which of the two statements for each number that you agree with the most: 1. a. Children get into trouble because their parents punish them too much. 1. b. The trouble with most children nowadays is that their parents are too easy with them. 2. a. Many of the unhappy things in people's lives are partly due to bad luck. 2. b. People's misfortunes result from the mistakes they make. 3. a. One of the major reasons why we have wars is because people don't take enough interest in politics. 3. b. There will always be wars, no matter how hard people try to prevent them. 4. a. In the long run people get the respect they deserve in this world. 4. b. Unfortunately, an individual's worth often passes unrecognized no matter how hard he tries. 5. a. The idea that teachers are unfair to students is nonsense. 5. b. Most students don't realize the extent to which their grades are influenced by accidental happenings. 6. a. Without the right breaks, one cannot be an effective leader. 6. b. Capable people who fail to become leaders have not taken advantage of their opportunities. 7. a. No matter how hard you try, some people just don't like you. 7. b. People who can't get others to like them don't understand how to get along with others. 8. a. Heredity plays the major role in determining one's personality. 8. b. It is one's experiences in life which determine what they're like. 9. a. I have often found that what is going to happen will happen. 9. b. Trusting fate has never turned out as well for me as making a decision to take a definite course of action. 10. a. In the case of the well prepared student there is rarely, if ever, such a thing as an unfair test. 10. b. Many times, exam questions tend to be so unrelated to course work that studying in really useless. 11. a. Becoming a success is a matter of hard work, luck has little or nothing to do with it. 11. b. Getting a good job depends mainly on being in the right place at the right time. 12. a. The average citizen can have an influence in government decisions. 12. b. This world is run by the few people in power, and there is not much the little guy can do about it.


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Social Influence Minority influence: Including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility Minority influence refers to situations where one person or a small group of people (i.e. a minority) influences the beliefs and behaviours of other people. This is distinct from conformity where the majority is doing the influencing. Minority influence is most likely to lead to internalisation – both public and private beliefs are changed by the process.

How does minority influence occur? Research shows that consistency is the most important behavioural characteristic that the minority should possess in order to influence the majority. Minority influence is associated with change & innovation as the ideas cause social conflict: Moscovici also suggested it is important for the minority to show commitment. Through being unanimous and consistent, a minority shows they are committed to their cause. Also flexibility - The minority must not appear to be rigid and dogmatic. In addition other conditions were important in order to promote conversion: Relevance: The minority will be more successful if their views are in line with social trends. Confidence: Sends the message that the minority is serious and demands attention. Creativity: Innovation brings about new ideas for better social change. Persuasiveness: The minority must try to win over people from the majority to support their cause. It is important that minority views raise awareness and make people feel that it is okay to hold a view that others do not consider. For change to happen, the minority somehow has to bring the majority around to their way of thinking. The behavioural characteristics that the minority must possess in order to influence the majority have been investigated by studies of minority influence. 1. Moscovici et al’s (1969) Blue-green Experiment: Watch Youtube: Minority Influence •

Aim: To investigate the process of innovation by looking at how a consistent minority affect the opinions of a larger group, possibly creating doubt and leading them to question and alter their views Procedures: The all female group of participants were first given an eye test to check that they were not colour blind. They were then placed in a group of four participants and two confederates. They were all shown 36 slides that were different shades of blue and asked to state the colour out loud. There were two groups in the experiment. o In the first group the confederates were consistent and answered green for every slide. o In the second group the confederates were inconsistent and answered green 24 times and blue 12 times. Findings: In the consistent group 8.42% of trials resulted in participant’s answering green (agreeing with the minority). 32% of the Participant’s agreed at least once. In the inconsistent group 1.25% of trials resulted in participant’s answering green. Conclusions: The study suggested that minorities can change the opinion of the majority, particularly if they are consistent.


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Social Influence Evaluation: However Moscovici’s study can be criticised: • •

• •

Ethics: The experiment uses stooges so deception is employed. Whenever there is deception consent cannot be informed. Method: It lacks ecological validity since it is a very trivial exercise, i.e. a silly disagreement over a slide that is very obviously blue. This is not the sort of thing we normally disagree over, so does it tell us anything about minority influence in real life when very weighty matters of principle tend to be involved. They are also involved in an artificial task. As such they are very different from minority groups in the wider society who seek to change majority opinion. For example, members of women's rights, gay rights and animal rights organisations, members of pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, Research Institute for Health and Social Change are very different from participants in laboratory experiments. They often face much more determined opposition. They are committed to a cause; they often know each other, provide each other with considerable social support and sometimes devote their lives to changing the views of the majority. 2. Another research demonstrating minority influence is: Clark (1994) “Twelve angry men experiment”. 270 college students were asked to role play the part of jurors and read a summary of a court case presented in the film Twelve Angry Men. The students who were all unfamiliar with the film had to decide whether the accused was guilty.

Participants were given a summary of a murder case and the jury’s decision about key pieces of evidence. The persuasiveness of the arguments and the views of the jury were manipulated. The participants were asked their views about the guilt of the defendant at various stages. Clark found that participants were most persuaded when they heard consistent persuasive arguments from the minority jury members and when they learned that more than one juror had defected from the majority position.

Evaluative commentary: •

Jury decisions are very important and to some extent the study is based on reality. The strength of a minority was shown in a film ‘12 Angry Men’ with Henry Fonda. Henry Fonda changed the majority verdict through the counter-evidence presented, the persuasive nature and consistency of his arguments. As can be seen, research shows that consistency is the most important behavioural characteristic that the minority should possess in order to influence the majority. As previously stated, Moscovici also suggested it is important for the minority to show commitment and flexibility. There has been research support for consistency being a crucial aspect in majority influence. Wood et al (1994) did a meta-analysis of 100 similar studies and found that minorities seen as consistent were the most influential.

It has been found that once the minority begins to persuade people round to their way of thinking, a snowball effect begins to happen, e.g. smoking ban. This is a slow process which requires people to change their thinking. Changing opinions and explaining them to others requires understanding. This is like internalisation.


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Social Influence This means that more and more people adopt the minority opinion, until gradually the minority becomes the majority. Once this happens, the minority opinion has become the dominant position in society, and people often do not even remember from where the opinion originated. This is a process known as social cryptoamnesia. (e.g. over time the civil rights movement became accepted). Hogg & Vaughan (1995) claim that the following are important for minorities to be influential: ❖ Principle: if the minority seem to be acting on principle rather than out of self interest ❖ Sacrifice: if the minority have had to make sacrifices to maintain their position ❖ Share characteristics with the majority: if the minority are similar in age, race, social class etc. ❖ Social trends: if the views of the minority are in keeping with social trends. For example current trends in Western Society are tolerance and liberalisation. Therefore calls by a minority for equal rights for a minority group are more likely to meet with acceptance.

Minority influence: The role of social influence processes in social change Improving group status through the process of social change ❖ Protest marches, campaigns, strikes, legal battles are all tactics that can be used by minority groups to address inequalities and discrimination in society. According to Tajfel in his social identity theory (SIT), people identify themselves as belonging to particular social categories. For example, Manchester United fans and Chelsea fans wear different colours. Tajfel said that people wish to maintain a positive social identity and that this is largely based on their membership of specific social groups. If the social identity of the group to which they belong is unsatisfactory and seen as negative to others, they will try to change it. ❖ Hogg and Vaughan define social change as the idea that a lower status individual can improve their social identity by challenging the legitimacy of the higher status group’s position. This can be done in one of two ways: Social mobility or social action. ❖ Social mobility is the most legitimate strategy in Western democracy: For example, a young asylum seeker may achieve positive social status by training to be a professional; lawyer, doctor, accountant, lecturer, etc. ❖ An alternative strategy is to improve the status of the group by being creative. Real life examples of this: During the 1960s and 1970s Black people in America ran a “Black is beautiful” campaign. This led to a positive redefinition of black characteristics, including skin colour, language and cultural heritage. A recent example is the change of status of the Maoris of New Zealand. ❖ A further example is to challenge the social conditions that disadvantage them: Radical feminists, gay and lesbian campaign for equal rights in the workplace and civil law; groups representing disabled people, for example through events like the Paralympics. ❖ Other examples documenting social change: Women clergy; DEFRA The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (recycling); conservation/climate change; Arab spring protests - The protest movement of 2011; an expression of deep-seated


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Social Influence resentment at the ageing Arab dictatorships, with rigged elections, anger at the brutality of the security apparatus, unemployment, rising prices and corruption. ❖ Indians 4 Social Change is a non-profit platform that aims to spur change in the world through global community building.

Making your voice heard: Can a minority bring about social change?

Rosa Parks being arrested

Social change is “When society adopts a new belief or way of behaving which then becomes widely accepted as the norm”. Examples of recent social change: • Ban on smoking in public places • Recycling

So far in all of the studies considered such as Asch, a majority have had influence over a minority. However, in real life if this were always the case, and the minority always went along with the majority, there would be no change in Society. For change in ideas, religions, politics etc. there are times when a minority of people with different views have to exert their influence on the rest of us. This so called minority influence tends to be a slow process, but it does bring about a change both in public and privately held opinions. Sometimes the actions of a small number of people, or even a single individual, can have an enormous influence on society. Maria Montessori: Montessori schools have changed education. It is ‘developmental education’ as it supports and follows the child’s creation of a unique individual through his or her exploration of the world. Rosa Parks’ minority action: In 1955 she refused to obey the racist apartheid laws in the USA that said she had to give up her seat to a white man. Her refusal began a campaign of civil disobedience. Her action changed the law and showed that people can also resist conformity and obedience by copying the actions of others in certain situations.


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Social Influence Rosa Parks’ minority action led to the prominence of Martin Luther King, another minority leader. Segregation was banned in the United States, 9 years later. On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.

Real life examples of how minority influence creates social Change

African-American Civil Rights Movement 1) Drawing Attention This was done through social proof in the 1950s in America. Black separation applied to all parts of America. There were black neighbourhoods, and in southern states of America, places such as schools were exclusive to whites. The civil rights marches of this period drew attention to the situation by providing social proof of the problem.

2) Consistency There were many marches and many people taking part. Even though they were the minority of the American population, the civil rights activists displayed consistency of message and intent. 3) Deeper Processing Deeper processing of the issue – this attention meant that many people who just accepted the status quo began to think about the unjustness of it. 4) The Augmentation Principle (extension) There were a number of incidents where individuals risked their lives. For example, ‘freedom riders’ were mixed racial groups who got on buses in the south to challenge the fact that black people still had to sit separately on buses. Many ‘freedom riders’ were beaten up. There were incidents of mob violence.

5) The Snowball Effect Civil rights activist such as Martin Luther King continued to press for changes that gradually got the attention of the US government. In 1964 the US Civil Rights Act was passed, which prohibited discrimination. This represented a change from minority to majority support for civil rights. 6) Social Cryptoamnesia This is where people have a memory where change has occurred but cannot remember how it happened. There is no doubt that social change occurred and the south is quite a different place now but some people have no memory of the events that led to the change.


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Social Influence Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

• •

In the 1950s, in the South of America, public buses were segregated. This meant that the first four rows of the buses were reserved only for whites. Rosa Parks was the secretary for the local branch of the NAACP - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. On December 1st, 1955 as Rosa rode the bus home from work the bus driver moved toward the back of the bus and demanded that four black people relinquish their seats to the white people. The three black men near her moved, but she refused to give up her seat. When asked why, she said she did not see why she should have to. The bus driver then proceeded to call the police, who subsequently arrested Rosa. The police charged her with violating the part of the Montgomery City code that dealt with segregation law, even though she had not technically violated the law. 24 hours after her arrest, Rosa Parks was bailed out of jail by Edgar Nixon, president of the NAACP. Nixon and Jo Ann Robinson - a member of the Women’s’ Political Council - quickly generated over 35,000 copies of a flyer announcing a boycott of the buses. Two days after Rosa's arrest, in local church services, members of the black community were notified of the boycott. A unanimous agreement was made that black people would boycott the buses until fair seating was arranged, changes were made to the way black people were treated on the bus, and some black drivers were hired. This tactic proved to be highly effective because, at that time, statistics showed that black people made up 75 percent of the buses riders. The flyers announcing the bus boycott were completely distributed by the day of Parks' trial and all black people were asked to remain out of any form of bus transportation, including to and from school for the day. The support turned out to be incredible and the boycott was extended. During the boycott, a carpool made up of 300 cars that were volunteered was set up. Black taxi drivers charged ten cents per ride, a fare equal to the cost to ride the bus, in support of the boycott. Across the nation, black churches raised money to support the boycott and collected new and slightly used shoes to replace the tattered footwear of Montgomery's black citizens, many of whom walked everywhere rather than ride the buses and submit to Jim Crow laws (state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the Southern United States). The boycott lasted for a total of 381 days. Pressure increased across the country until, finally, a law was passed that allowed black bus passengers to sit virtually anywhere they wanted, and the boycott officially ended on 20th December, 1956.


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Social Influence The Suffragette Movement

Video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw4L6UJIJ7Q&feature=related •

In 1832, Lord Grey piloted the highly controversial Great Reform Act through Parliament. It used the word "male" instead of "people", excluding women from the vote. • The first leaflet advocating votes for women appeared in 1847, and suffrage societies began to crop up throughout the country. Twenty years later, John Stuart Mill led an unsuccessful attempt to secure votes for women in the Second Reform Act. That defeat led to the founding of the National Society for Women's Suffrage. The following year Richard Pankhurst, an MP and Manchester lawyer, made a fresh attempt to win votes for women. His wife and daughter, Emmeline and Christabel, went on to become the two most important figures in the movement. • The first country to give the vote to women was New Zealand in 1893, a move which acted as a major boost to British campaigners. Australia took nine more years to do the same. Frustrated by no sign of reform at home, the leading campaigners of the day took matters in to their own hands. Women began chaining themselves to railings, and within five years the campaign had extended to smashing windows. The most determined - and the first to be jailed - were Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kennedy. They disrupted a Liberal Party meeting, got themselves arrested and then refused to pay fines so their jailing created headlines. By 1911, the UK had witnessed the first act of suffragette arson (orchestrated by Christabel) and two years later Emily Davison died at the Derby as she rushed out to bring down the King's horse. In Parliament, pressure for change was led by some liberal MPs, who were the leading figures in a suffrage committee. But away from the reasoned debate of Westminster, prisons filled with women prepared to go to jail for the right to vote. The civil disobedience continued behind bars, with many women force-fed to prevent them hunger striking. While the authorities tried to present them as insane, their families campaigned for the inmates to be given political status, including the right to wear their own clothes, study and prepare their own food. World War I proved to be the turning point for the campaign. The suffragettes effectively put on hold their campaign of civil direct action in the interests of national unity. As men went to the Western Front, women proved how indispensable they were in the fields and armaments factories. By 1918, no government could resist and the Representation of the Peoples Act allowed women over 30 the right to vote. It would take a further 10 years to abolish the age qualification and put men and women on an equal footing.


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Social Influence Evaluative commentary Social change happens slowly when they happen at all. For example – it has taken decades for attitudes against drink-driving and smoking to shift. Do minorities really have much of an influence? Nemeth (1986) argues that the effects of minority influence are likely to be mostly indirect and delayed. They are indirect because the majority is influenced only on the matters at hand, not the central issues itself. They are delayed because the effects may not be seen for some time. Role of Deeper Processing Moscovici’s conversion explanation of minority influence argues that minority and majority influence involve different cognitive processes. That is, minority influences causes individuals to think more deeply about an issue than majority influence (conformity).

Conformity and Justice • •

The research into social change is very important in the legal system. When people conform they do so because there is no reason not to. In court a jury may make wrong decisions based on the majority of jurors, if a minority does not speak out. The strength of a minority was shown in a film ‘12 Angry Men’ with Henry Fonda. Henry Fonda changed the majority verdict through the counter-evidence presented, the persuasive nature and consistency of his arguments.

Conformity, Creativity and Problem Solving ❖ It is important for conformists to learn to consider alternative points of view, in order to solve problems. Non-conformist independent thinking may provide a creative solution to problem-solving.

AO2 application of psychological knowledge questions: a) Were the suffragettes trying to exert minority or majority influence?

b) Was their behaviour conformist or independent?

c) Describe one dispositional* factor in the suffragettes linked to independent behaviour

d) How does the minority behave to become the majority? (give 3 features of minority influence)


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Social Influence e) How did the minority become the majority and what happened next? (what are 2 processes involved in social change)

*Dispositional Factors; also known as internal factors are individual characteristics that influence behaviour and actions in a person. Personality traits, temperament and genetics are all dispositional factors. The opposite of dispositional factors are situational factors which are influences like the environment and others around you. People tend to cite dispositional factors as the reason for success ("I passed the test because I am smart", "I worked hard for that grade") where people tend to blame failure on situational factors ("The test wasn't fair", "The teacher doesn't like me").

To be completed by the student � Discussion on how obedience and conformity research might inform understanding of social change v status quo � Preparation for lesson, students review Moscovici’s study. Student to bring to class their own idea of the process of social change. Either as poster or presentation

How might research into the process that influences social change benefit the economy? You must read your textbook to get more ideas about this issue


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