Social Influence Conformity and Obedience Group Influence The Power of Individuals • Social psychology’s great lesson is the enormous power of social influence • This influence can be seen in our: • Conformity • Obedience to authority • Our group behavior Social Influence • The greatest contribution of social psychology is its study of attitudes, beliefs, decisions, and actions, and the way they are molded by social influence. NON SEQUITER © 2000 Wiley. Dist. by Universal Press Syndicate Reprinted with Permission Conformity and Obedience Mood Linkage Solomon Asch Social Norms Stanley Milgram Conformity & Obedience • Behavior is contagious, modeled by one followed by another. • We follow behavior of others to conform. • Other behaviors may be an expression of compliance (obedience) toward authority. Conformity Obedience The Chameleon Effect • The chameleon effect is our tendency to unconsciously mimic those around us. • Yawning when others yawn • Picking up the mood of a happy or sad person : http://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=7BKwBsPlR04 • This automatic mimicry is an ingredient in our ability to empathize with others. • This helps explain why we feel happier around happy people than around depressed people • It also helps explain why studies of groups of British nurses and accountants have revealed mood linkage – sharing up and down moods Conformity • Conformity is adjusting one’s behaviors or thinking to coincide with a group standard (Chartrand & Bargh, 1999). • Conformity involves yielding to social pressure. How did you feel the first time someone asked you to smoke? • In the 1950s, Solomon Asch showed that people have a surprisingly strong tendency to conform. • He conducted a classic experiment where subjects were asked to make unambiguous judgments, indicating which of three lines on a card matched an original standard • The task was easy, and 7 subjects were asked one at a time to make their judgments aloud. Only the 6th subject was a real subject – the others were confederates who, after a few trials, began purposely giving wrong answers. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYIh4Mkcf JA The Asch Experiment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAgbpt7Ts8 Group Pressure and Conformity • Asch wanted to see how often people conformed and gave an answer they knew was wrong, just because everyone else did. How often would someone be influenced because they are willing to accept others’ opinions about reality? • He found that, on average, about 1/3 (37%) conformed completely; 70% conformed at least once. However, there was considerable variability among subjects (some never caved at all). Conditions that Strengthen Conformity • Subsequent studies using a similar protocol to Asch’s experiment found that certain things might influence whether or not people will conform. • Conformity increases when: • One is made to feel incompetent or insecure • The group has at least three people • The group is unanimous (if just one other person does not go along with the group (a dissenter), subjects are significantly less likely to conform) • One admires the group’s status and attractiveness • One has made no prior commitment to a response • One is being observed by members of the group • One’s culture strongly encourages respect for a social standard (a collectivist culture like China) Reasons for Conforming • Informational Social Influence: Influence resulting from one’s willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality. • The group may provide valuable information, but stubborn people will never listen to others. • Other people might conform to what the group believes even if they figure they might know better. Figure 18.4 Informational influence Myers: Psychology, Eighth Edition Copyright © 2007 by Worth Reasons for Conforming • Normative Social Influence (“social norms”): Influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid rejection/ disappointment. • A person may respect normative behavior because there may be a severe price to pay if it’s not respected. • For example, Darhl Pederson and his colleagues demonstrated conformity to a social norm. • When someone else was present in a public restroom, ____ percent of women washed their hands. If no one else was present, only ____ percent did so. Breaking Social Norms Frozen Grand Central http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo The Sound of Music in Central Station, Belgium http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k&fea ture=related • Examine which cultures are more likely to encourage conformity: • What are the qualities of cultures that encourage conformity? • What types of government do these cultures have? • Are they all communistic, democratic, or a mixture of both? • On whom do these cultures encourage conformity – government officials, families, adults or all of the above? • How do these cultures handle people who don’t conform? • Do they suffer formalized punishment (jail, fines, etc.) or more informal social punishment (shunning, lack of job advancement, etc.)? Obedience Courtesy of CUNY Graduate School and University Center • People comply to social pressures. • How would they respond to outright command? • Stanley Milgram designed a study that investigates the effects of authority on obedience. Stanley Milgram (1933-1984) Obedience and the Milgram Experiment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W147ybOdgpE • Obedience is a form of compliance that occurs when people follow direct commands, usually from someone in a position of authority. • Stanley Milgram (1960s), like many people, was troubled over the Nazi war criminal defense “I was just following orders.” He designed a landmark experiment to determine how often ordinary people will obey an authority figure, even if it means hurting another person. • His experiment consisted of 40 men from the local community recruited to participate in a psychology experiment, supposedly on the effects of punishment on learning. The men were given the role of “teacher” in the experiment, while a confederate was given the role of “learner.” • The teacher was seated before an apparatus that had 30 switches ranging from 15 to 450 volts, with labels of slight shock, danger: severe shock, and XXX etc. Although the apparatus looked and sounded real, it was fake. The learner was never shocked. • 00:00 – 24:30* • 28 – 38 yell Results of Milgram’s Study • Milgram found that _____ of the men administered all 30 levels of the shock, even though they displayed considerable distress at shocking the learner. Results of Milgram’s Study, cont. • Subsequent studies (and there were many) indicated that, like in Asch’s study, certain conditions could affect one’s level of obedience. Likelihood of obedience increased when: • The victim could not be seen • An authority figure was close at hand • A prestigious organization or institution was behind the experiment • Lack of a defiant role model • A dissenter was present. If a confederate defied the experimenter and supported the subject’s objections, the subject was significantly less likely to give all the shocks (only 10%). Results of Milgram’s Study, cont. • Milgram’s experiments were extremely controversial, as his method involved considerable deception and emotional distress on the part of subjects. • The generalizability of Milgram’s findings has stood the test of time, but his work helped stimulate stricter ethical standards for research. • Milgram’s findings have been replicated in many modern nations and even higher rates of obedience have been seen in many places. What have we learned from the conformity and obedience studies done by Asch, Zimbardo, and Milgram? • Ordinary people can do shocking things, because social roles and other situational pressures can exert tremendous influence over social behavior. • In all of these studies, participants were pressured to choose between following their standards and being responsive to others (for example, in Milgram’s study, participants were torn between hearing the victims pleas and the experimenter’s orders). • Milgram and Zimbardo both showed that situational forces can lead normal people to exhibit surprisingly callous, abusive behavior (Abu Ghraib) Group Influence Social Facilitation Social Loafing Deindividuation Group Polarization Groupthink Group Influence • How do groups affect our behavior? • Social psychologists study various groups: 1. 2. 3. 4. One person affecting another Families Teams Committees A group consists of two or more individuals who interact and are interdependent. • Imagine yourself standing in a room, holding a fishing pole. • Your task is to wind the reel as fast as you can. • On some occasions you wind in the presence of another participant who is also winding as fast as possible. • Will the other’s presence affect your own performance? • In one of social psychology’s first experiments, Norman Triplett (1898) found that adolescents would wind a fishing reel faster in the presence of someone doing the same thing • He and later social psychologists studied how others’ presence affects our behavior • Social facilitation: refers to improved performance on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others. • Triplett (1898) noticed cyclists’ race times were faster when they competed against others than when they just raced against the clock. • Works just the opposite for difficult tasks • When others observe us, we become aroused, which sometimes hinders performance • If performance on tasks diminishes when we are not good at that task, consider the following scenarios: • Should students schedule when they take tests so that they can take them when they are ready? Why or why not? • Should students be allowed to give oral presentations in front of the teacher if they believe their project isn’t very good or if they are uncomfortable with their public speaking ability? Why or why not? The Yerkes-Dodson Law Applies to Social Facilitation • There is an optimal level of arousal for the best performance of any task: • easy tasks = relatively high • difficult tasks = low arousal • other tasks = moderate level • Have you ever noticed, while working on a group project for school, that some people just don’t pull their weight? • Welcome to the concept of social loafing! • Studies show that productivity decreases as group size increases. We pull harder by ourselves! • Social Loafing: is the tendency of an individual in a group to exert less effort toward attaining a common goal than if they were individually accountable • In other words, it’s a reduced individual effort when people work in groups as compared to when they work alone. We pull harder by ourselves! • What causes social loafing? • Three things: • People acting as part of a group feel less accountable, and therefore worry less about what others think • Group members may view their individual contributions as dispensable • When group members share equally in the benefits, regardless of how much they contribute, some may slack off. • Unless highly motivated and strongly identified with the group, people may free-ride on others’ efforts Pull out a sheet of paper… • Hide your paper so that no one around you can see it. • On your paper, I want you to answer this question with 100% honesty: • If you could do anything humanly possible with complete assurance that you would not be detected or held responsible, what would you do? • Fold your paper after you finish writing. Pull out a sheet of paper… • Dodd (1987) reported data from 10 college psychology classes and 3 prison psychology classes. • Interestingly enough, Dodd found no difference between the responses of students and prisoners. • He classified the responses as antisocial (36%), non-normative (19%), neutral (36%), and prosocial (9%). • Frequent responses include illegal acts (26%), sexual behavior (11%), and spying on others (11%). The most popular single response Dodd has found is “rob a bank” (15%). • This illustrates the phenomenon of social control and how it influences our behavior. • Looking at Dodd’s prison data, you can see that some people are not as highly influenced by society’s constraints as others. • This idea leads us to… Deindividuation • Deindividuation: is the loss of self-awareness and selfrestraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity. • For example: • Spectators yelling at officials Mob behavior (lynchings, riots) is an example of deindividuation. Group Polarization • Decision making processes can be influenced by groups as well. • Group polarization occurs when group discussion strengthens a group’s dominant point of view and produces a shift toward a more extreme decision in that direction. • In other words, when a group is like-minded, discussion strengthens its prevailing opinions and attitudes and leads a group to shift toward a more extreme decision in the direction it was already leaning • For example: racial prejudice, politics, suicide terrorists As a group, both the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan are more extreme than the average individual in the group. • Groupthink is the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides the realistic appraisal of alternatives (common sense). • In other words, groupthink is when a cohesive group suspends critical thinking in a misguided effort to promote agreement. • Members of a group become so interested in seeking a consensus of opinion that they start to ignore and even suppress dissenting views. • Many “historic fiascoes” can be attributed to its influence: • Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs invasion • WMDs in Iraq • The escalation of the Vietnam conflict • The U.S. failure to anticipate the attack on Pearl Harbor • Research indicates that cohesiveness (strength of the liking relationships linking group members) is a significant contributor to groupthink. Groupthink in the Challenger explosion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYpbStMyz_I http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FalKF6xFsE Symptoms of “Groupthink” • An illusion of invulnerability – The decision makers in the group believe that they will succeed, demonstrating an unrealistic degree of confidence, resulting in a willingness to resort to extreme risk. • An illusion of unanimity – Everyone in the group believes that everyone holds the same opinion, when in reality, other people may be having misgivings. This shared illusion results in strong conformity pressure – no one expresses their reservations, for fear of group criticism or retribution. • A belief on the inherent morality of the group – The group members believe what they are doing is the morally and ethically correct course of action, and ignore evidence to the contrary. • Collective rationalization – In the face of arguments against their course of action, the group will collectively rationalize, or “explain away” the arguments, which may have led them to reconsider their course of action. • Stereotypical thinking – Members of a group in the throes of groupthink paint in broad strokes, portraying their adversaries in terms of broad stereotypes. • Mindguards – mindguards are self-appointed “gatekeepers” who take it upon themselves to keep dissenting opinions out of the discussion, protecting the “unanimity” of the group. The Power of Individuals Minority Influence Power of Individuals The power of social influence is enormous, but so is the power of the individual. • Non-violent fasts and appeals by Gandhi led to the independence of India from the British. Margaret Bourke-White/ Life Magazine. © 1946 Time Warner, Inc. • Gandhi Minority Influence • Minority influence refers to the power of one or two individuals to sway majorities. • Remember that a third of the individuals in Milgram’s study resisted social coercion. • They have a consistency in the expression of their views. • Examples: • Gandhi, MLK Jr., Rosa Parks • An unarmed individual single-handedly challenged a line of tanks at Tiananmen Square. • What is social facilitation, and is it more likely to occur with a welllearned or a brand-new task? Why? • People tend to exert less effort when working with a group than they would alone, which is called _____________________. • You organizing a meeting of fiercely competitive political candidates. To add to the fun, friends have suggested handing out masks of the candidates’ faces for supporters to wear. What phenomenon might these masks engage? • When like-minded groups discuss a topic, and the results is the strengthening of the prevailing opinion, this is called ___________________. • When a group’s desire for harmony overrides its realistic analysis of other options _______________ has occurred.