SUSS SSC 113 SOCIAL SELF UNIT 3 (Social Influence and Conformity (Social…
SUSS SSC 113 SOCIAL SELF UNIT 3
Social Influence and Conformity
Social influence refers to the efforts by one or more individuals to change the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, or behaviours of one or more others
There are various types of social influences including.
involves giving in to the commands of an authority.
According to Milgram’s experiment, obedience was highest when the person giving orders was close by and was perceived as a figure of a figure of authority.
Also, depersonalisation plays a part.
involves trying to change the attitudes or behaviour of others. There is the
element of perceived choice
in this form of social influence. When we try to persuade someone, that other person perceives that there is a choice whether or not to agree.
. There is the
of mental of physical harm. Techniques here include intimidation, threats, infliction of mental pain and torture.
Both compliance and coercion
induce behavioural but not attitudinal change
involves a change in a person's attitudes or behavior in response to (often implicit) pressure from others such that the corrected behaviour matches and follows with the behavour that one is pressured towards.
Sources of conformity
Uncritical/ ideomotor action
Sometimes people conform mindlessly and automatically when the very perception of someone else's behaviour makes them more likely to behave that way themselves (the principle of ideomotor action)
Informational social influence
people conform because of informational social influence—that is, they look upon the actions of others as information about what is best to do.
Normative social influence
Sometimes people conform because of normative social influence—that is, out of concern for the social
of their actions.
Factors affecting conformity
larger the size
of the group, there is a
for us to go along with the decisions,
actions and behaviour of the other group members.
Normative focus theory suggests that norms will influence people’s behaviour only to the extent that they are salient to us at that moment that the behaviour occurs.
In general, norms affect and influence our actions when they seem relevant and salient at the time that we are engaged in the action. This is when we choose either to comply or ignore the norm.
are those that specify what one ought to do i.e. what is approved or disapproved of in a given situation
in certain situations, especially those in which antisocial behaviour is involved, injunctive norms have a stronger effect.
This is because such norms
away from how people are actually behaving (e.g. cheating)
to how they should be behaving.
Also such norms activate the
desire to do the right thing
regardless of how others are behaving.
are the ones that
describe what most people do in a given situation.
The level of cohesiveness
in a group influences conformity. Cohesiveness refers to the factors that cause group members to remain in the group. One such factor would be how much the individual likes the other group members.
or the degree of attraction that is felt by the individual towards the group
pressure towards conformity is high
. When cohesiveness is low, conformity pressures are reduced. This is because we want to gain acceptance of those people that we like and admire and one way of gaining acceptance is to be like them.
three major types of conformity
is accepting the belief or behavior and conforming both publicly and privately, if the source is credible.
It is the deepest influence on people and it will affect them for a long time
is conforming to someone who is liked and respected, such as a celebrity or a favorite uncle.
This can be motivated by the attractiveness of the source,and this is a deeper type of conformism than compliance.
is a form of social influence in which behavioural change is obtained through
rewards and punishments
. Techniques of compliance include reward (e.g. study hard and you will get a job), moral obligation (e.g. it is your civic duty to volunteer) or punishment (e.g. bad grades mean no vacation).
The desire to maintain
helps us to resist conformity. this trait is culturally dependent as individualistic cultures are more likely to embrace individuality than collectivistic cultures which emphasise the maintenance of harmony and social ties
The desire to
is another trait that would help us to resist conformity. This refers to the emphasis that one places on personal freedom and control over what happens in one’s life.
Social control is achieved through a variety of means, including through social norms.
Social control aims to bring about order in society as society cannot function without an agreed upon and enforced social order that makes daily life and a complex division of labour possible. Without it, chaos and confusion would reign
Informal social control refers to our conformity to the
and values of the society, and adoption of a particular belief system, which we
learn through the process of socialization.
This form of social control is enforced by family, primary caregivers, peers, other authority figures like coaches and teachers, and by colleagues.
Formal social control
Formal social control is that which are which is
produced and enforced by the state
(government) and representatives of the state that enforce its laws like police, military, and other city, state, and federal agencies.
impact of social influence and control on the self
Benefits of the Group
pooling of ideas, resources and knowledge results in enhanced creativity and problem solving ideas.
increased efficiency due to the division of labour within the group.
performance either enhanced or inhibited due to the presence of others.
the drive theory of social facilitation
That is, the presence of others increases our arousal which in turn increases our tendency to perform dominant responses.
Zajonc and Sales (1966) found that the presence of others would improve individuals’ performance when they are highly skilled at the task in question but will interfere with their performance when they are not highly skilled, for example when they are learning to perform the task.
refers to the tendency of members of highly cohesive groups to assume that their decisions cannot be wrong, that all members support the group’s decision and that any information contrary to it must be wrong.
Once this state occurs, groups become unwilling or are unable to change their decisions, even if external events suggest that these decisions are wrong. There is an increased unwillingness to consider alternative courses of action
The Eight Symptoms of Groupthink
Illusion of invulnerability
Illusion of morality
Illusion of unanimity
Shared negative stereotypes
Direct conformity pressure
there are two central factors for groupthink
The other factor is that of emergent
that suggest that the group is morally superior and always makes the right decisions. Hence when the group makes a decision, no further discussion is warranted or entertained and what is expected is for the group members to strongly support the group decision
is a major factor that influences groupthink. Groupthink is more likely to occur in groups with a very high level of cohesiveness. In such groups, members are similar in background, interests, and values and they tend to like each other very much.
in which there is the conscious cultivation of an atmosphere where people raise objections.
so that care is taken not to frame the issue in such a way that would favour a particular option.
multiple groups with multiple leaders
to work on the same problem.
within a group to work on different aspects of the problem.
feedback from outsider
s – this is similar to having an external review committee.
outsiders sit in
on the decision making process. However, this runs the risk of sharing of confidential information.
Create scenarios in which the group must
for each scenario.
Having a last chance meeting whereby the group convenes to meet at a later date and finalise the decision so that group members can have a chance to
on the decision made.
Playing the devil's advocate
is the tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme than those made by individuals.
Two explanations for group polarization:
Every group member wants to perform better than the other group members by scoring higher in the value that the group values. So if the group values riskiness, he wants to be more risky than the average member but if the group values risk aversion, he wants to be more conservative and risk averse than the average member.
However, during the group discussion when members compare their views with other members, some will discover that they are in fact either on par with the other members or are even worse off. To compensate, they shift their opinions and position towards the more extreme end of the spectrum.
During the discussion, most of the arguments presented are those that favour the group’s initial preference. As group members hear more of such arguments, persuasion occurs and members shift their views towards the majority’s view.
These shifts will result in more arguments supporting the initial preferred position being put forth.
As a result, group members convince themselves that this view presented is the right view or the best choice and they shift their opinion and the group’s opinion in the direction of the initial opinion or view with increasing strength and conviction.
biased information processing
. In such situations, groups process available information in ways that allow them to reach the decision that they want. There is also the failure to share unique information. There is a tendency for group members to concentrate the discussion around information shared by most members, and overlook information that is held by one or a few of the members. Often, this information is not even brought up for discussion. However, accuracy of the decision increases if the group does happen to pool unshared information.
Individuals and Groups
Individual identity is formed though intragroup comparisons with other individuals i.e. via interaction with others in the group. By comparing the self and differentiating the self from others within the group a sense of individual identity is formed. Often these differentiations are also based on group identities. Group identities provide the framework upon which individual identity is built. culture, norms and the need for social consensus are limiting factors around which we formulate our personal identities. Group identity curtails what sort of individual identity is possible or legitimate. There is thus a reciprocal interaction between individual and group identity