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Conformity and Obedience

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1 Conformity and Obedience

2 I. Conformity: a change in behavior or belief as
the result of real or imagined group pressure. Conformity often occurs in response to established norms. A. Conformity: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly… and The Neutral B. Two Levels of Conformity… Level 1… Compliance: conformity that involves acting in accord with an implied or explicit request while privately disagreeing. Level 2… Acceptance: conformity that involves acting and believing in accord with social pressure.

3 C. Informational Influence: the influence of other people that
leads us to conform because we see them as a source of information to guide our behavior. We conform because we believe that others’ interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more correct than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action.

4 D. Believing is Seeing… Sherif’s Research on Conformity
1) Autokinetic Phenomenon: the apparent movement of a stationary point of light in the dark.

5 E. Social Contagion: the rapid spread of emotions or
behaviors through a crowd. Contagious Yawning Shuffling Papers Pitted Windshields! 1) Mass Psychogenic Illness: the occurrence, in a group of people, of similar physical symptoms with no known physical cause. School Sick for a Day Meowing Nuns!

6 F. Social Proof: we tend to see an action as more appropriate
or correct when others are doing it. Coffee Houses Red Bull Canned Laughter Elevator in Candid Camera When in Rome… Monkey See, Monkey Do… Monkey Die! Social Proof accounts for the increase in suicides and murders that occurs soon after highly publicized suicides and murders take place. The idea here is that the new suicides and murderers see themselves as similar to the people involved in the initial events.

7 G. Normative Influence: the influence of other people that
leads us to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them; this type of conformity results in public compliance with the group’s beliefs and behaviors but not necessarily private acceptance of those beliefs and behaviors. H. Is Everyone Nuts?!… Asch’s Research on Conformity 1) The Ally Effect: if you introduce a dissenter into the group (someone who takes the side of the real subject), then the real subject’s likelihood of conforming drops significantly.

8 II. What Other Factors Predict Conformity?
A. Group Size 1) Social Influence Model: three to five pseudo subjects in the group yields the greatest rate of increase in conformity; conformity begins leveling off after that. 2) Social Impact Theory: greater group size = greater overall conformity; although the first source of influence yields the greatest rate of increase in conformity. Groups have normative influence when group members want to be liked and informational influence when group members want to be right. When being liked is important, groups with three to five pseudo subjects lead to more conformity than only two pseudo subjects (Social Influence Model). When being right is important, the first person added to a group has the most influence (Social Impact Theory).

9 III. Non-Conformity: Let’s All Be Different Together
B. Public Response C. Role Reversal III. Non-Conformity: Let’s All Be Different Together A. Distinguishing between true independence of thought and non-conformity. B. How do we react to those that react against established norms (norm-violators)?

10 IV. Obedience: acting in accord with a direct
order or command; usually when given by a person with perceived authority. The Shocking Truth… Milgram’s Research on Obedience to Authority 1) Initial Predictions 2) Outcome

11 3) Evidence for an “authority explanation”… Sex differences? NO
Unaware of the true harm that was being inflicted? NO Not a representative sample? (subjects were a bunch of bad apples?) NO

12 B. What Breeds Obedience?
1) Victim’s distance or depersonalization 2) Closeness and legitimacy of the authority 3) Institutional authority 4) Liberating effects of group influence C. Examples from the Real World Follow your doctor’s orders?

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