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Conformity & Dissent October 7th, 2009: Lecture 8.

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1 Conformity & Dissent October 7th, 2009: Lecture 8

2 Lecture Overview Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience Conformity Depth of Conformity Compliance Obedience Dissent

3 Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience CONFORMITY ➔ Change in behaviour due to the real or imagined influence of other people COMPLIANCE: ➔ Change in behaviour due to direct requests from another person OBEDIENCE: ➔ Change in behaviour due to commands of an authority figure

4 Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience Increasing Pressure on the Individual Conformity Compliance Obedience

5 Conformity ➔ A change in behaviour due to the real or imagined influence of other people

6 How Does Conformity Operate? Implicit Social Influence Informational Social Influence Normative Social Influence

7 Implicit Social Influence ➔ Influence caused by increasing the accessibility of social beliefs in working memory Typically occurs outside of awareness

8 Implicit Social Influence “The Unbearable Automaticity of Being” (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999) Method: Elderly Stereotypes Elderly Stereotypes Neutral Words Neutral Words

9 Implicit Social Influence “The Unbearable Automaticity of Being” (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999) Results: Time to Walk Away (s)

10 Informational Social Influence ➔ The influence of other people that leads us to conform because we see them as a source of information to guide our behaviour Mass psychogenic illness Sherif’s (1936) dot studies Factors that increase informational social influence Resisting informational social influence

11 Mass Psychogenic Illness ➔ The occurrence of similar physical symptoms in a group of people with no known physical cause Orson Welles (1938) War of the Worlds Broadcast

12 Sherif’s (1936) Dot Studies Relied on the Autokinetic Effect Your eyes jump back and forth constantly - this is called a “saccade” Contributes to depth perception Due to saccades, a single, unmoving point appears to move when you stare at it for a while

13 Sherif’s (1936) Dot Studies Method: 1. Participants watch a dot of light in a dark room with 2 others 2. Each person has to give an estimate aloud of how far dot moves 3. Real participant goes first, then two actors 4. This procedure is repeated for a series of trials

14 Sherif’s (1936) Dot Studies Results: Conformity with group over time Estimate of Dot Movement

15 Situations that Increase Informational Social Influence More likely to look to others for cues in: Ambiguous situations Situations of Crisis When you have reason to believe other people are Experts

16 Resisting Informational Social Influence Look for non-human evidence Remember your consistency bias If something is wrong, then be the one who speaks out!

17 Normative Social Influence ➔ Influence of others that leads us to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them Causes: Power of Social Norms Conformity & Social Approval

18 Social Norms ➔ The implicit or explicit rules of a group about the acceptable behaviours, values, and beliefs of its members Group members are expected to conform to these norms Members who deviate from norms are punished or rejected UC Berkeley’s “Naked Guy”

19 Asch’s Lines Asch (1951, 1956) Study of Normative Social Influence Method: 1. Participants completed a judgement 2. task in groups with actors 3. Participants stated which example line (pic B) was the same length as a standard line (pic A) 4. On 12 trials, all the actors gave the wrong answer AB

20 Asch’s Lines Results: % of Participants AB

21 Asch’s Lines It’s uncomfortable

22 Social Impact Theory ➔ The study of factors that increase conformity based on Normative Social Influence Strength The group is important Immediacy The group is temporospatially proximal Number Group size (larger group = more conformity)

23 Resisting Normative Social Influence Find an ally Social norms allow occasional deviation Idiosyncrasy credits By conforming over time, you earn “idiosyncrasy credits” that you can effectively cash in when you want to deviate from the group

24 Depth of Conformity Private Acceptance ➔ Conformity due to a genuine belief that others are right Likely to change long term behaviour Public Compliance ➔ Conformity where behaviour is only changed publicly You believe the others are wrong May or may not change behaviour in the long run

25 Putting It All Together Source of Influence Depth of Conformity Bargh & Chartrand’s “Unbearable Automaticity” Implicit Social Influence Private Acceptance Sherif’s Dot Studies Informational Social Influence Private Acceptance Asch’s Lines Normative InfluencePublic Compliance

26 Compliance ➔ Change in behaviour due to direct requests from another person Persuasion Strategies: Door-in-the-face Reciprocity Norm Foot-in-the-door Low-Balling

27 Obedience ➔ Change in behaviour due to commands of an authority figure

28 Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Milgram (1964) Method: Student Teacher

29 Obedience to Authority Results: 64% of participants shocked up to 450 V mark Recent meta-analysis (Blass, 1999): Mean of % of participants shock up to the 450 V mark

30 Obedience Why obey? Normative social influence Disobeying authority figures can have severe consequences - very rigid social norms Informational social influence Authority figures are experts Why disobey? Sometimes the costs of compliance are too great

31 Minority Dissent ➔ Observing minority dissenters may not result in explicit behaviour change, but has a deeper impact on implicit attitudes

32 Minority Dissent Nemeth (1974) Method: 1. Participants say colour of blue and green slides with 5 other “participants” (1 participant, 5 actors) 2. 2 of the actors say some of the blue slides are green 3. After the task, participants are shown a gradient from blue to green, and asked where blue becomes green

33 Minority Dissent Nemeth (1974) Results: No participants agreed with minority dissenters when naming the colour of the slides However, their perception of blue had shifted toward the green end of the spectrum Control Condition Dissent Condition

34 Why Not Dissent? Two step process of group responses to Dissent: 1. The group’s attention is focused on the dissenter 2. The other group members begin to ignore the dissenter Long term consequences: More likely to be dropped from a social group Assigned more menial tasks

35 Minority Slowness Effect People take longer to express attitudes when those attitudes are not held by most people

36 Why Dissent? Someone has to You have power over others in very subtle ways Private acceptance All great shifts in humanity began with the minority

37 The Group Made Me Do It! Next Lecture (10/7): OPTIONAL = Not on test Dr. Page-Gould’s Research (1st Hour) Grad School in Social Psych (2nd Hour) Related Websites: Original War of the Worlds Broadcast in.mp3: Normative Influence - Fads across the Decades:


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