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CHAPTER 6 CONFORMITY AND INFLUENCE IN GROUPS COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 1 Prepared by Robert Gass & John Seiter
Norms are expectations governing group member’s behavior Norms may be explicit or formal not cheating on a test not texting while driving Norms may be implicit, informal not picking your nose during class Not taking your clothes off in class Norms may not be apparent until they are violated Is it okay to wake someone up to ask her/him a favor? Is it okay to ask your ex-girlfriend’s sister out? COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2 CONFORMITY TO GROUP NORMS
EARLY CONFORMITY RESEARCH Asch found conformity to group judgments was common Individuals estimated the length of lines Group members (confederates) offered different judgments 75% of all subjects modified their estimates at least once to conform to the group 25% remained largely independent of the group’s judgment Public conformity doesn’t necessarily imply private conformity COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3
INFLUENCE OF NORMS Groups may punish deviation from established norms Norms are most influential in ambiguous social situations Subjects littered more in a setting where others were seen littering Norms may persist even if they are dysfunctional “Win at any cost” mentality in business “Codes of silence” among police officers COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 4
Social impact theory (SIT) The first few person added to a group exerts the most pressure to conform Each additional member adds pressure to conform, but their influence is proportionally less For example, the 5 th group member has more influence than the 9th group member Social influence model (SIM) The 3 rd and 4 th members added exert the most pressure to conform With a 3 rd or 4 th member, coalitions can emerge COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 5 GROUP SIZE AND CONFORMITY
Informational influence Consistent with social influence model Emphasis is on the group being correct More heads are likely to know the answer than one 1 st person added has the greatest impact (later members’ opinions become redundant) More important when responding in private Normative influence Members want to be liked, accepted by the group Fitting in matters more than being right Consistent with social impact theory More important when responding in a group COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 6
RESISTING PRESSURE TO CONFORM Morality as motivated resistance hypothesis People with stronger moral convictions are better at resisting pressure to conform It is difficult for a lone dissenter to resist unanimous group pressure A holdout with even one ally can resist more easily A second dissenter decreases conformity by 80% COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 7
INDOCTRINATION & INITIATION Initiation rituals may entail hazing, humiliation, or even violence Fraternity/sorority initiations Hazing new firefighter recruits Gang initiations Marines’ “blood pinning” ceremony Members tend to value groups more when initiations are intense Consistent with the “effort-justification” paradigm in cognitive dissonance COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 8
CULT INDOCTRINATION Cult indoctrination often follows four stages: 1 softening up stage Befriending, self-affirmation, “love bombing” 2 compliance stage Milieu control over sleep, diet, appearance 3 internalization stage New members incorporate cult doctrine 4 consolidation stage Loyalty tests, donations, recruitment COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC.. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 9
Identification and reference groups Reference groups provide standards of comparison for self-appraisal “Keeping up with the Joneses…” People consider reference groups when making decisions What professor to take What smartphone to buy COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 10 FACTORS AFFECTING CONFORMITY
Ethnocentrism Belief in the superiority of one’s own culture One’s own culture is the standard by which other cultures should be judged Groupthink Members engage in consensus-seeking They reinforce one another’s opinions They fail to question or analyze ideas Strong culture Extreme loyalty and identification with one’s organization COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 11 FACTORS AFFECTING CONFORMITY
GENDER AND CONFORMITY In general women tend to conform more than men Sex roles affect conformity Females are socialized to be more communal Males are socialized to be more independent Status also affects conformity; a female CEO may conform less than a male middle manager COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 12
PEER PRESSURE AND CONFORMITY Peer influence increases during adolescence Peer pressure can promote risky behaviors tobacco, alcohol, drug use Peer pressure can lead to aggression Hazing, teasing, ostracism can spark violence Online hazing can trigger suicides Peer pressure also has positive effects Peers also model desirable behaviors Peer pressure cut smoking rates in half (Rosenberg, 2011) COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 13
PERSONALITY AND CONFORMITY Managers with high cognitive complexity conform less in stressful situations than those with low cognitive complexity People who are high on control conform less than those who are low on control High self-monitors tend to conform more than low self- monitors People with a high need for affiliation conform more than those who don’t desire to belong so much Dogmatic people tend to conform more than non- dogmatics, but only for highly respected sources COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 14
Power-Distance People from high power-distance cultures tend to value obedience, authority People from low power-distance cultures tend to value individual autonomy Tolerance for ambiguity Some cultures have a higher tolerance for ambiguity than others Less tolerance for ambiguity tends to produce more conformity Masculine-Feminine People from “masculine” cultures tend to conform less than people from “feminine” cultures Individualism-Collectivism Individualistic cultures view conformity more negatively Collectivistic cultures view conformity more positively COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 15 CULTURE AND CONFORMITY
Group locomotion hypothesis The individual goes along to achieve the goals of the group Social comparison theory The group is a yardstick for measuring one’s own performance Consistency theory Liking and identification with the group discourages deviance Epistemological weighting hypothesis Members think the group knows more than they do Hedonistic hypothesis Members conform to receive social benefits, avoid social punishment COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 16 THE WHY’S OF CONFORMITY
Monkey see, monkey do People base their behavior on what others are doing Internet piracy Urban graffiti Viral marketing relies on social proof A social phenomenon is spread by word of mouth Groupon and word of mouth Sales and social proof Consumer ratings and reviews Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor Prosocial behavior reusable shopping bags volunteerism Negative social proof Cheating bullying COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 17 SOCIAL PROOF
OSTRACISM Social ostracism involves excluding or ignoring others Shunning as a practice in some religious communities Campus shootings are often attributable to social ostracism Cyber-bullying Social ostracism makes some people long for attention, recognition Social ostracism makes some people more vulnerable to influence attempts COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 18
Depersonalization Individual identity is subsumed to that of the group A diffusion of responsibility occurs Anonymity increases deindividuation Negative social consequences Lynch mobs Vandalism by unruly sports fans Treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq Crowd size affects antisocial behavior Bystander effects Bystanders may fail to help in an emergency Self-Awareness Increasing private self- awareness reduces deindividuation Increasing accountability decreases deindividuation COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 19 DEINDIVIDUATION
Richmond, CA, 2009: A 15 year old was gang raped outside her high school’s homecoming dance The ordeal lasted 2 ½ hours At least 20 passers-by failed to call police Other witnesses watched, laughed, and took pictures Steubenville, Ohio, 2013: an unconscious 16 year old girl was sexually assaulted by two high school football players Fellow students shared pictures about the event via social media Increasing private awareness can overcome the bystander effect Identifying individuals can overcome the bystander effect “You, in the red sweater, call 911!” “Ma’am, I need your help. Go pull the fire alarm” COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 20 THE BYSTANDER EFFECT
Slackers: People exert less effort in a group than working alone The Ringlemann effect: in a tug of war, adding team members reduces individual effort Decision making & problem solving: as members are added, individual effort tapers off Collective effort model Members coast when individuals’ contributions can’t be distinguished Free ride effect Members coast if they are anonymous Members coast if they aren’t personally accountable Sucker effect Productive members slack off when they see others aren’t working COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 21 DEINDIVIDUATION & SOCIAL LOAFING
REDUCING SOCIAL LOAFING The larger the group, the less likely people are to help Limiting group size can reduce social loafing Assessing individual performance reduces social loafing Diligent isolates are less likely to engage in social loafing, but may foster social loafing in others Social facilitation Groups may motivate people to try harder Energizing effect of groups can lead to greater risk-taking COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 22
Risky-shift phenomenon Groups are tend to make riskier decisions than individuals The group’s consensus is typically riskier than the average risk-level of its members Group polarization Groups enhance members’ pre- existing tendencies toward risk- taking or risk-aversion High risk-takers skew the average willingness of the group to assume risks Social comparison theory Members entertain ideas they would not otherwise consider Persuasive arguments theory (PAT) The most vocal members advocate the most extreme views There can also be a shift toward greater caution More vocal members may advocate greater caution COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 23 RISK-TAKING BEHAVIOR
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