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Social Influences on Behavior

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1 Social Influences on Behavior
Mr. Koch AP Psychology Forest Lake High School

2 Deindividuation Phenomenon when a person becomes “submerged in a group and loses sense of individuality Tend to do things would not normally do when alone (feel anonymous)

3 Social influences on motivation
Norman Triplett (1897) Noticed bicycle racers tended to go faster when others were present Experiment – 3 conditions: Race alone against clock With another cyclist, but not competing With another cyclist, in competition Result: went faster with another cyclist, regardless of competition Found similar results in experiment with adolescents winding fishing reels

4 Robert Zajonc “Social facilitation” vs. “Social impairment”
Presence of others increases general level of arousal Arousal increases tendency to perform behaviors that are most dominant (the ones we know best) Improves performance for easy, familiar tasks Performance may suffer for hard, unfamiliar tasks

5 “Social Loafing” Exerting less effort when performing a group task than when performing the same task alone Harder to evaluate the performance of individuals when in group Rewards may come to group regardless of individual giving more effort Group’s rewards usually divided equally rather than by effort

6 Group polarization Interaction and discussion of individuals in a group with similar beliefs/attitudes tends to make these beliefs/attitudes more extreme “risky shift” and “conservative shift”

7 Groupthink A pattern of thinking in which group members fail to realistically evaluate the wisdom of various options and decisions Likely when place higher value on reaching decision/consensus than assuring decision is right Best way to avoid is by encouraging diverse perspectives and dissent to be expressed


9 Conformity Changing one’s behavior or beliefs to match those of others, generally as a result of real or imagined, though unspoken group pressure Compliance – adjusting ones behavior because of an explicit or implicit request

10 Solomon Asch’s Conformity Study
Subjects asked to pick which of 3 lines was same size as standard line Didn’t realize that other subjects in panels were confederates On 6 trials, confederates would choose the correct answer But on 12 of the trials, created “social reality” by all choosing the wrong line

11 Asch’s Conformity Study
Control condition – less than 1% of participants ever made a mistake Experimental condition – about 70% made at least one error by conforming to the group norm Conformed on over 1/3 of all responses Why did they conform? Public conformity Didn’t believe, but saw it as socially desirable thing to do Private acceptance Saw others’ responses as legitimate evidence of reality, were convinced their own perceptions were wrong, and changed their minds

12 Factors influencing conformity
Ambiguity When something is less certain, rely more on other’s opinions Group Size and Unanimity More powerful at 3 people or more If even one person disagrees, greatly reduces conformity (<10% in Asch study) Social Status Prior commitment Culture that promotes importance of social standards Research has shown no legitimate gender-based differences “Minority influence” – much more rare, but can be powerful


14 Asch Conformity Study

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