Details of results for 12 “critical” trials Number of times (out of 12) Ss conformed 0 1-3 4-6 7-9 10-12 24% 33% 15% 17% 11% Percentage of total sample
Implications/summary conformity surprisingly high given – Unambiguous – Strangers – Low stakes for being wrong – Asch’s original hunch WRONG
What about individual differences? 24% participants in Asch (1951) NEVER conformed—why? social vs. personality psychology
Informational vs. normative social influence Informational social influence— – Need to know “what’s right” – Arises when correct answer ambiguous (e.g. Sherif, 1935) – Crisis situation (e.g. War of the Worlds) – Importance of task should generally increase conformity Normative social influence – Need to be accepted – Correct answer relatively unambiguous (e.g. Asch, 1951) – Importance of task should generally decrease conformity
Baron, Vandello, & Brunsman (1996) Person A Person A* Person B Person C Person D Actual perpetrator “line-up” presented on computer Task difficulty: 5 seconds (EASY) vs. 500 milliseconds (HARD) Task Importance (high vs. low) PA PB PC PD.
Results 5 0 Hard task (fast exposure) LOWHIGH IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT IDENTIFICATION Easy task (slow exposure) Number of conforming trials
Summary of Baron et al. When correct answer unclear (ambiguous) – Informational social influence – Conformity higher when important When correct answer clear (unambiguous) – Normative social influence Conformity lower when task is important
Slight (0-240) Intense (255-300 volts) Extreme intensity (315-360 volts) Danger: severe shock (375-420 volts) XXX (435-450 volts) Initial “prediction” study Psychiatrists: predict that 1 out of 1,000 would go to highest level Results of main study: In actuality, 65% go to highest level Milgram (1965)
Why did American soldiers commit abuses at Abu Ghraib and record their crimes on film? For "psy-op reasons," according to Private Lynndie England (above), who insists that she was following orders from "persons in my higher chain of command." Psychological, moral, and legal implication of Milgram study: abuses at Abu Ghraib
Social influence and body image Two issues – #1 Variance in societal standards for beauty 1a. Variation across cultures 1b. Variation over time, within culture
Variation across 54 cultures (Anderson, 1994) Food supply in that culture Low (unreliable) High (reliable) Preference for thin body Preference for heavy body high low
Variation over time, within culture: United States
Mean bust-to-waist ratio (high #s = heavier, more “voluptuous” body type) 19001920 1960 1980 1940
Issue #2: Do idealized images of feminine beauty have a causal (negative) impact on your body satisfaction?
Priming manipulation Dejection /negative mood Self-rated satisfaction with body.28* -.21* A classic mediated effect: (a) presentation of “thin ideal” leads to increase in dejection, (b) higher levels of dejection associated with lower levels of body image r =.00
Research on men Much less attention More heterogeneous “ideal” compared to women, but.. Evidence for increased emphasis on musculature Clever study by Pope et al. (2000)-”The Adonis Complex” – computer-generated image of self Actual Self-ideal Image that they guessed women would find attractive +28 lbs muscle In actuality, women tended to prefer actual/typical physique Other studies show parallel effects for women, in terms of thinness.
Minority influence Tyranny of the Asch position among American psychologists? – Serge Moscovici Mechanisms
A closer look at norms Injunctive vs. descriptive norms Reno, Cialdini, & Kallgren (1993)
Participant’s car (with handbill attached to windshield) participant confederate One of three types of behavior (nothing, drops fast food bag, picks up fast food bag) Parking Garage initial state: already littered vs. clean
Summary of design – Two independent variables 1. Behavior of confederate –Control –Descriptive norm activated (drop bag) –Injunctive norm activated (pick up bag) 2. General Cleanliness of setting –Littered vs. clean – Dependent variable what do Ss do with handbill attached to windshield?
Control Descriptive (litters) Injunctive (picks up) Norm made salient by confederate clean littered Prior condition of environment Probability of littering (handbill)
More complex issue National park anecdote – Non-linear relation between amount of pre- existing litter and probability that you will litter – Suggests that strong injunctive norms can, ironically, be triggered by small amounts of litter – But as litter increases, this trend is reversed
control One piece of litter in otherwise pristine setting Lots of litter Probability that participant will litter high low