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Social influence Three main types of social influence Compliance – behavior change based on a request Conformity – behavior change based on social pressure.

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Presentation on theme: "Social influence Three main types of social influence Compliance – behavior change based on a request Conformity – behavior change based on social pressure."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social influence Three main types of social influence Compliance – behavior change based on a request Conformity – behavior change based on social pressure Obedience – behavior change based on instruction from an authority

2 Compliance Q: How do we convince people to comply with our requests? A: Ask for a small favor, before asking for the big favor you really want Franklin was annoyed by a political opponent in the Pennsylvania state legislature. He thus set out to win him over, as described in one of his books : I did not... aim at gaining his favour by paying any servile respect to him but, after some time, took this other method. Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book I wrote a note to him expressing my desire of perusing that book and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately and I returned it in about a week with another note expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends and our frendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself has obliged."

3 Why does it work? Cognitive dissonance Contradictions feel uncomfortable. Thus, People aim to reduce their contradicting feelings How do we reduce our contradicting feelings? Change our behavior (“Franklin, gimme back my book, you asshole!”): hard Change our attitude: “Benny is ok”. Much easier

4 Other examples of cognitive dissonance Hazing: lots of effort to get there, I’d better like it. –Fraternities –Military Experimental evidence : - If I have a compelling reason for my effort (‘they paid me a shitload of $”) - there is no dissonance => I judge the event accurately (‘it was hell’)

5 Other cases of cognitive dissonance COUNTER-ATTITUDINAL ADVOCACY: when we state opinions we don't believe, we start to believe them (Festinger, 1959, Aronson 1991: aids speech) LABELING: When told something is certain way, we modify our behavior to match that description (trash collection by 5 th graders)

6 Compliance: foot-in-the-door: If you agree to a small request, you are more likely to agree to a larger request Charities: “contribute even if it is $1” Experimental evidence (Freedman & Fraser, 1966); - control condition: post an ugly sign ‘drive carefully’:17% agreed - experimental group: sign petition about driving safely promotion post an ugly sign ‘drive carefully’:76% agreed door-in-the-face: If you decline a large request, you are more likely to agree to a small request

7 Compliance: That’s-not-all: you are more likely to comply if you give them something in addition to the initial offer: NPR drive: “donate;you’ll also get a DVD of The American Experience” Bait-and-switch: Once you made a commitment, you are unlikely to back out when the conditions change Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated: FREE! For six months!

8 Conformity: behavior change because of social pressure Which line is the same length as the target? (Asch, 1950s) Target A B C Conformity

9 Subjects were tested in groups: - only one ‘real’ subject, the rest are confederates -For the first few trials, everyone answers correctly -Then, confederates start giving the same wrong answer (uniformity) Results: the subject often conformed with the group Factors that reduce conformity: A dissenting confederate Answer privately Factors that increase conformity: - Situation is ambiguous - Situation is a crisis

10 Conformity influences on helping behavior diffusion of responsibility - reduction in perceived individual responsibility, due to presence of other people. 2 reasons: - self-serving interests - informational component

11 normative influence- desire to be liked, accepted and approved of informational influence- desire to be correct, and understand how best to behave. Factors affecting likelihood of conformity: - Size of the group (3 is the magic number!) - Importance of the group - Unanimity of the group

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13 The confederate responds in the following manner to the shocks: voltageconfederate response 75grunts 120shouts in pain 150says that he refuses to continue with this experiment 200blood-curdling screams 300refuses to answer, mumbles something about a heart condition +330silence As the participant perceives the confederate's pain, his conscience kicks in, and he begins to object to continuing the experiment. Milgram responds to these objections in the following way: objecti on milgram's response first"He's fine. go on." second"The experiment requires you to go on." third"It is absolutely essential to go on." fourth"You have no choice. You must go on." Question: What percentage of participants would deliver the full 450 volts? Milgram asked his colleagues this question, and they responded with very small estimates. Maybe about 4 percent. Milgram himself didn't believe anyone would go so far. Experimental Results Milgram's results were alarming. Of the 40 participants he surveyed, 68% of them ended up delivering the full 450 volt treatment. 15 of the 40 ended up convulsing with epilpetic laughter. Participants went temporarily mad and started tearing their hair out. Most amusingly, Milgram actually believed that the aforementioned experimental setup was the CONTROL case! He did not anticipate that subjects would conform at all in these conditions. Right: Maximum shock voltage delivered by each of the 40 participants. Mode is XXX. Below: Shows how participant compliance slowly decays as voltages increase. 68% complied till the end! Explanation Situationism > The moral of Milgram's experiment is that behavior is not just a function of personality, but also a function of the situation -- and the latter variable can possess dramatic weight. The bullets directly below detail aspects of Milgram's fabricated environment which made it most persuasive. Entrapment / Gradual Commitment > If I just gave him a 50 volt shock, what's wrong with a 75 volt shock? It's only a little more. If I just gave him a 75 volt shock, what's wrong with a 100 volt shock? It's only a little more... If I just gave him a 425 volt shock, what's wrong with a 450 volt shock? People can be entrapped into fulfilling ridiculous requests if you just ask them to commit gradually. Mating is another example of entrapment. First you go out for coffee, then you go on a few more casual dates, then you watch TV together, then you make out, and then before you know it, you get married. Objectivity > Milgram told participants that the "learning" experiment was being conducted in the pursuit of science, to study how memory and learning processes work in humans. The scientific theme, combined with the prestige of Yale University and the nontrivial influence of Milgram's lab coat, suggested that participants calmly and objectively complete the study regardless of how the victim was suffering. Do it scientifically. Do it like professionals. Authority Structures > Milgram played the authority figure. It was his experiment. Participants thus believed that any negative ramifications of the experiment would ultimately be blamed on Milgram and not themselves. Furthermore, Milgram was a scientist at Yale. So particpants assumed that he probably knew what he was doing, and everything was going to be alright. Authority structures strip away moral responsibility. Mainpulating Obedience: Methods That Don't Work Reduce Prestige (48%) > The same experiment was conducted at a less prestigious school called Bridgeport. 48% of participants still gave the full 450 V shock. Soften Personality of Authority Figure (50%) > Milgram was a tall, stern, imposing figure with a severe haircut. The experiment was repeated with nicer experimenters. 50% of the participants still gave the full 450 V shock. Mainpulating Obedience: Methods That Do Work Reduce Legitimacy of Authority Figure (20%) > Here there are two confederates: one assigned to be the learner, and another who assists the participant in the "teaching" process. Shortly after the participant arrives, Milgram says he's got something else to do, and asks the participant and teaching confederate, "Why don't you two just finish the experiment yourself?" Milgram leaves. The loony teaching confederate then says that he's got a great idea: let's shock the learner when he gets things wrong! 20% of participants deliver maximum voltage. One way to look at this is as a very positive change. We went from 68% compliance to 20%. But the other way to look at this is with awesome fear. 20% of us will actually blast away another person if a random guy on the street tells us to! Increase Distance From Authority (20%) > When the authority figure is no longer standing next to the participant, but rather sends commands via telephone, 450 V compliance drops to 20%. This phenomenon is also frequently observed in army battles. During WWII, soliders in trenches would fight very cooperatively with their enemies when commanding officers were far away. One side would fire some initial pot-shots to warn the other side to hide. Then they would shoot a little bit, and quickly return to their trenches. The other side then did the same. Repeat. No one gets hurt! And since the commander isn't there, you can get away with it. Decrease Distance From Victim (30%) > When participants are required to put the learner's hands on the shock plates, or are simply placed closer to the victims, 450 V compliance drops to 30%. Reducing the distance amplifies participants' perceptions of the confederate's pain, stinging their empathy. Another example of this effect occured during the Holocaust. The original master plan did not involve large-scale incinerators and gas chambers, but instead asked that Nazi soldiers be responsibile for rounding up particular families and killing them. This resulted in widespread mutiny and alcoholism among SS soldiers, because they couldn't handle seeing the pain of their victims up close. Add Dissenting Voices (37.5%) > Two confederates assist the participant. One reads a word. Another determines whether the "learner" responds correctly. Finally, the participant is responsible for delivering the shock. At the 150 V mark, the first confederate quits the experiment. At the 210 V mark, the second confederate also quits, leaving the participant with sole responsibility for the shock treatement. 25/40 participants leave at this point. These results are testimony to the power of dissenting voices, and provides insight as to why some dictators throughout history have been so tenacious about eradicating all dissent in their jurisdiction, even in its slightest, most innocent form. An example is Stalin, who deleted everyone who disagreed with him in any way. Milgram’s experiment: When shocked, the confederate gives the following standard response voltageconfederate response 75grunts 120shouts in pain 150says that he refuses to continue with this experiment 200blood-curdling screams 300 refuses to answer, mumbles something about a heart condition +330silence objectionmilgram's response first"He's fine. go on." second"The experiment requires you to go on." third"It is absolutely essential to go on." fourth"You have no choice. You must go on." When teacher (subject) objects, Milgram responds:

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15 Obedience: What can we learn from Milgram’s experiment? The power of Situations. behavior is not just a function of personality, but also a function of the situation Gradual Commitment > It is just a little more than the previous one –Politicians & corruption –Truman & nuclear bombs in WWII Influence of Authority > –‘ Science’ authority (white coat, Yale U., do it in the pursuit of science).

16 Manipulating Obedience: What Does Work Reduce Legitimacy of Authority Figure (20%) > Milgram has an ‘assitant’, and it is the ‘assistant’ who, soon after Milgram leaves, says I have a great idea: let's shock the learner when he gets things wrong! (only 20% go to max V, a 48% drop) Increase Distance From Authority (20%) > When Milgram instructs via a phone, Decrease Distance From Victim (30%) > When participants are required to put the learner's hands on the shock plates, Add Dissenting Voices (37.5%) > Two confederates assist the participant, but quit at 150 V mark and at 210 V mark.. 25/40 participants leave at this point.

17 Manipulating Obedience: What Doesn't Work Reduce Prestige > Replicated at a less prestigious (fake) school named Bridgeport (48% went to max V) Soften Personality of Authority Figure > Replicated with nicer experimenter (not so stern) (50% went to max V)

18 How can you live with yourself, after doing that? Transfer of responsibilities: –“I was just following orders” Abu Graib, Argentina’s ‘dirty war’ Cognitive reinterpretation –Dehumanize the victim (“it’s his fault”) “he must have done something”

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