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C82SAD Social Influence I: Obedience and Conformity

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1 C82SAD Social Influence I: Obedience and Conformity

2 Power and Influence Power is the capacity or ability to exert influence (Hogg & Vaughan, 2005) Raven’s (1965) Sources of Power: Reward power Coercive power Informational power Expert power Legitimate power Referent power

3 Power and Influence No real attempts to support reward and coercive power, assumed (Collins & Raven, 1969) Information can potentially have the power to influence but not all information, depends on a number of factors e.g. source authority (see persuasion) Good example: Bochner & Insko (1966) experiment on sleep using a Nobel prize-winner vs. YMCA instructor Legitimate power is based on obedience (see later)

4 Power and Influence Other models of power provided by Moscovici (1976)
Power vs influence Power = control by domination that produces compliance and submission Influence = process of changing attitudes, persuasion is a form of influence People in power need not resort to ‘influence’; they have it already Power is also a social ‘role’, people take on the role of ‘leader’ and can influence group members

5 Power and Influence Stanford prison experiment (Haney, Banks, & Zimbardo, 1973) UG students volunteered to participate in the study 2-week study Randomly assigned to roles of prisoners and guards Guards given power over prisoners – control of resources, mete out rewards and punishment

6 Power and Influence Entire basement of Stanford University Psychology Department used to setup a ‘mock’ prison Prisoners were ‘arrested’ at their residences, made to wear prison issue uniforms (‘dresses’), placed in cells, limited freedom to exercise, interact Guards observed to resort to tyranny and anti-social behaviours to keep prisoners in line

7 Power and Influence Brutality of the ‘guards’ and suffering of the prisoners resulted in the experiment being abandoned after only 6 days Suggestion that guards were depersonalised in the group and their ‘role’ losing their individuality Therefore ‘tyranny’ was ‘embedded’ in the psychology of powerful groups – group of people in ‘social roles’ create ‘group norms’ and comply with them Group norms = acceptable beliefs and behaviours in a group

8 Criticisms of The Stanford Prison Experiment
1. Findings not been fully reported in scientific publications, can only be evaluated through limited footage and website material 2. Evidence of resistance by the prisoners and some of the majority of the guards did not act tyrannically has largely been ignored 3. Claims that guard tyranny was a spontaneous product of the role and the norms were overstated, Zimbardo’s leadership may have been influential “Guard aggression was emitted simply as a consequence of being in the uniform of a guard and asserting the power inherent in that role” (Haney et al., 1973, p. 62)

9 Criticisms of The Stanford Prison Experiment
It seems that Zimbardo’s briefing of the guards gave them some license to behave tyrannically: “You can create in the Prisoners feelings of boredom, as sense of fear to some degree, you can create a notion of arbitrariness that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system, you, me and they’ll have no privacy…They have no freedom of action they can do nothing, say nothing that we don’t permit. We’re going to take away their individuality in various ways. In general what this all leads to is a sense of powerlessness” (Zimbardo, 1989)

10 Psychology of Tyranny: ‘The Experiment’
Do all powerful groups resort to tyranny (as the Stanford Prison experiment suggests)? Haslam and Reicher (2003) conducted an additional experiment to study whether Zimbardo’s findings could be replicated Gave minimal instructions to participants about ‘roles’ of ‘guard’ and ‘prisoner’

11 Psychology of Tyranny: ‘The Experiment’
Set of ‘rules’ including non-violence Control and power over resources, punishment given to ‘guards’ – would they be prepared to use them? Careful control over experiment at all times – ethical considerations

12 Psychology of Tyranny: ‘The Experiment’
Findings of the experiment: Power can be exerted through clear and consistent dissent and group ‘impermeability’ Interpretation of roles and internalisation of group norms important (‘prisoners’ initially more consistent and cohesive than ‘guards’) Guard ‘control’ initially satisfactory through use of ‘promotion’ Cohesive ‘prisoner’ group exploit the inconsistent, uncohesive ‘guard’ group to exert power

13 Social Influence Processes
Obedience and Compliance Milgram (1963): Classic but controversial study of compliance under duress from an ‘expert’ experimenter Near lethal electric shocks applied to ‘stooge’ connected to apparatus in mock learning study. Milgram (1974) explained that subjects felt under pressure but did not believe that the experimenter would allow harm to come to ‘stooge’. ‘Nothing is bleaker than the sight of a person striving yet not fully able to control his own behaviour in a situation of consequence to him’ (Milgram, 1974, pp. xiii) .

14 Milgram’s studies Sample to participants at 45 Volts 75V: Ugh!
150V: Get me out of here! My heart’s starting to bother me! I refuse to go on! Let me out! 180V: I can’t stand the pain! 220V: Let me out! Let me out! 270V: Agonised screams 300V: Refuse to answer and agonised screams 315V: Intensely agonised screams 345V on: Silence Throughout: if the participant was hesitating, the experimenter told him/her to go on.

15 What would you predict? % Subjects Administering Shock to Confederate

16 Social Influence Processes
Obedience and Compliance Milgram’s study replicated in both male and female groups Replicated in many countries: Spain and Holland = 90% compliance rate (Meeus & Raaijmakers, 1986) Italy, Germany, Austria = 80% (Mantell, 1971) Australian men = 40%, Australian women = 16% (Kilham & Mann, 1974)

17 Social Influence Processes
Obedience and Compliance: Explanations One explanation is that people have committed themselves to an action that was difficult to overturn Immediacy is an influential factor – how close a person is to the ‘learner’: Unseen and unheard: 100% compliance Pounding on the wall: 62.5% Visible during experiment: 40% Holding hand to electrode: 30%!

18 Social Influence Processes
Obedience and Compliance: Explanations Cultural norms also influential Smith and Bond (1998) recognised a significant cultural variation in conformity Collectivist cultural norms places more importance on the group, interdependent view of the self (e.g., Asia, Africa) Individualist norms are oriented about the individual, independent view of the self (e.g., North America, Western Europe) Bond and Smith’s (1996) meta-analysis of 133 studies using Asch’s paradigm found that conformity was significantly higher in collectivist cultures.

19 Social Influence Processes
Obedience and Compliance: Explanations Legitimacy of power: Yale University, lab coated experimenter, Milgram saw a reduction when the experiment was conducted in ‘industrial setting’ Experiments had implications for people’s obedience without considering: What is being asked Consequences for others Could this experiment be done today?

20 Social Influence Processes
Obedience and Compliance: Explanations Recent studies using the ‘Milgram paradigm’ use perceptions of ‘teacher’ Experimental participant views scenes (vignettes) of the Milgram experiment on a video (actually played by actors) Known as ‘person-perception vignette methodology’ Perceptions of teacher behaviours is the dependent variable Levy and Collins (1989) and Collins and Brief (1995) ratings of teacher behaviours during Milgram paradigm Polite, violent, and control dissenters to the experiment

21 Social Influence Processes
Other classic studies on compliance and normative influence Sherif (1935): Individual vs. group condition in ‘moving light’ or ‘autokinetic’ experiment. In group conditions there was a tendency for estimates to converge and individual re-tests suggested internalization of the group norm Asch (1952): Line comparison experiment, conflicting perceptual information and social pressure

22 Social Influence Processes
Sherif (1935): Condition (a) starting alone then group situation Inches of estimated movement

23 Social Influence Processes
Sherif (1935): Condition (b) starting alone then group situation Inches of estimated movement

24 Social Influence Processes
How groups change the way we behave Asch (1952): Classic experiment examining normative influence effects. Estimation of line lengths by individual in group comprised of experimenter’s confederates

25 Social Influence Processes
How groups change the way we behave Results: 37% gave erroneous errors compared to 0.7% in control group. Powerful effects of conformity but dependent upon a number of factors: The ambiguity of the task The group structure (one or more ‘deviants’) Individual differences Cultural expectations of conformity

26 Theories of Social Influence
Social influence is affected by NORMATIVE influence e.g. Asch’s (1952) experiments NORMATIVE influence is conforming to the positive expectations of others = behavioural compliance in group contexts INFORMATIONAL influence refers to the adoption of objective/external sources of information (Deutch & Gerrard, 1955)

27 Conformity and Uncertainty/ Perceived Pressure
Source: Deutsch & Gerard (1955)

28 Theories of Social Influence
Effects Normative and Informational Influence on Group Behaviour Turner et al. (1987) suggested that ‘self-stereotyping’ occurs for individual group members using informational and normative influences in tandem

29 Group Polarization Polarization refers to the enhancement of the dominant group perception or opinion after discussion/negotiation (Moscovici & Zavalloni, 1969) People become more polarized from initial starting position e.g. Myers and Bishop (1970) prejudice levels after a group discussion

30 Three Theoretical Explanations
Group Polarization Three Theoretical Explanations Normative influence: People maintain their beliefs in the socially desirable direction so as not to ‘stand out’ Informational influence: (Isenberg, 1986) New information is made available and the shift is a function of the proportion of arguments in favour of one side, their clarity and novelty. Social Identity: (Turner et al., 1989) People construct a ‘group norm’ and then conform to that norm, results in a polarised ‘in-group’ norm. Processes of self-categorisation and deindividuation occur.

31 Minority vs. Majority Minority Influence
Moscovici (1969) demonstrated that a minority can influence the majority perceptions if the minority were consistent and perceived as viable (couldn’t be explained away in terms of dogma, eccentric, weird) Mugny & Papastamou (1980) found that minority groups can be influential if their message is consistent yet flexible and open to reach compromises c.f. Film about jurors “12 Angry Men”

32 Experimental condition (Type of minority influence)
Minority vs. Majority Minority Influence Conformity (% ‘green’ responses) Experimental condition (Type of minority influence) Moscovici et al. (1969)

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