Psychology - Social Influence ~ continuation (Obedience: Dispositional…
Psychology - Social Influence ~ continuation
Milgram's Obedience: Social-Psychological Factors:
An individual sees themselves carrying another person's tasks so they aren't acting in their own accord and free of responsibilities. This could be to complete the task guiltless due to them not acting autonomously. Although these acts can be seen as barbaric, it could make them look rude and arrogant if they refuse to carry out the task. The agentic shift is when the individual shifts to an agent.
Research support showed a film of Milgram's experiment to students and were asked who to blame. They answered the experimenter because he was a legitimate authority in comparison to the participant who had no power in the social hierarchy.
It's a limited explanation because it doesn't explain why people do not obey which suggests the agentic state can only account for some situations of obedience.
We are more likey to obey those who we perceive to have authority over us. This authority is therefore justified (legitimate) due to their power in the social hierarchy. Destructive authority is also introduced to explain those who were in power in history and used their powers for destructive purposes (such as Hitler).
It's a useful explanation of culture differences across cultures. Milgram's study has been replicated in Australia where 16% performed 400 volts in comparison to Germany where 85% did. This reflects how different societies are structured and such support from cross-culture research increases the validity of the explanation.
Obedience: Dispositional Explanations:
Adorno used a F-Scale to study unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups.
People with authoritarian personalities scored high or "strong" on the F-Scale and have a fixed cognitive style which meant they had fixed and distinctive stereotypes about other racial groups.
F-Scale: a fascism (derogative & oppressive) scale which is used to measure authoritarian personality.
Milgram and his assistant conducted interviews with a small sample of obedient participant who scored high on the F-Scale, believing obedience and authoritarian personality are linked but found it's rather a correlation between two measured variables. This means there may be a third factor involved.
There is a political bias due to the F-Scale focusing on extreme right-wing views. It's criticised that the whole political system should be taken into consideration due to extreme left-wing ideology is similar.
Resistance to Social Influence:
Having social support can help people resist conformity and if they are not following the majority, they acts as a "model."
Asch's research however shows that if a "non-conformer" person starts conforming again, so does the naive participant which then shows the effect of a dissenter being short lasting.
The pressure to obey lessens when a person disobeys. In one of Milgam's variations, obedience dropped from 65% to 10% when the participant joined the disobedient confederate. The person's disobedience act as a "model."
Locus of Control:
- Internal Locus of Control:
People with a high internal locus of control perceive themselves as having a great deal of personal control over their behaviour and are therefore more likely to take responsibility for the way they behave.
(I did well on the exams because I revised extremely hard.)
YOU MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
- External Locus of Control:
People with a high external locus of control perceive their behaviours as being a result of external influences or luck
(I did well on the test because it was easy.)
THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU
Research has shown that people with an internal locus of control tend to be less conforming and less obedient (i.e. more independent). Rotter proposes that people with internal locus of control are better at resisting social pressure to conform or obey, perhaps because they feel responsible for their actions.
Research support from Asch's study found conformity decreased when a dissenter was present even when the dissenter wore thick glasses and had poor judgement on the lengths of the lines. This enabled the participant to act more freely from the group due to another giving a different answer, regardless of what the dissenter said.
Research support found lower obedience rates in comparison to Milgram's when disobedient role models are present.
This is when a person or a small group of people are influenced by the majority (majority influence) and most likely lead to internalisation. This research draws attention to the processes in minority influence.
Minority influence is most effective when their views and beliefs are consistent over time.
- saying the same thing.
- saying the same for some time.
Demonstrates dedication in their views, for example, through personal sacrifices to show minority influence isn't acting through self-interest.
Relentless consistency can come across unreasonable so showing flexibility show acceptance in a compromise.
Research support showed than the minority's opinion was more effective than an inconsistent opinion. A meta-analysis also showed that minorities who seen as being consistent were more influential.
Social Influence and Social Change:
Social change occurs when whole societies adopt new attitudes, beliefs and ways of doing things. For example, accepting that the Earth orbits the Sun and environmental issues.
How minority influence creates social change:
1. Drawing attention:
This focuses on situations by providing social proof of a problem.
Consistency of message & intent.
3. Deeper processing:
Many people who accepted society starts to think about the injustice of it.
4. Augmentation Principle:
to give greater influence of behaviour (e.g. active behaviour) so it can produce a different outcome.
5. The Snowball Effect:
A change from minority to majority.
6. Social Cryptomnesia:
People have memory that change occurred but don't know how it happened.
Social change happens very slowly and it's argued that the effect of minority influence are most likely indirect and delayed. They are indirect because the majority is focused on matters related to the issue (e.g. the active behaviour) rather than the central issue at hand. They are also delayed because the effects are not immediate. This shows that the effect of minority influence is very limited in terms of social change.
Minority and majority influences involve difference cognitive processes. Minority think more deeply about an issue than majority due to their conformity. However, it's argued that majority do adopt deeper processing if someone do not share the same views where they are forced to think about their reasoning for having a different viewpoint.
This means that the central element of minority influence being challenged casts doubt over the validity of Moscovici's theory.