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The Power and Harm of Social Influence

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Alana Garcia

on 23 November 2012

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Transcript of The Power and Harm of Social Influence

What Is Social Influence? The Power And Harm of Social Influence Study done by Cullum
and Harton (2007) Conformity In College Residences, student's attitudes become more similar to those living with them
Close proximity
Regular interaction
Mimic mannerisms and sayings Adjusting behaviour or thinking toward some group standard
Pressure to adhere to existing social norms
Most susceptible individuals that are prone to conformity are usually:
are afraid of scrutiny
Humans tend to group together Behaviour is Contagious The efforts of one or more individuals to change the attitudes or behaviour of others
Incorporates social norms: how people should behave
Occurs in behaviour, compliance, conformity and obedience Humans are natural mimics
Chameleon Effect (Chartrand and Bargh)
Mood Linkage
Those more eager to fit in: prone to unconscious mimicry Compliance Where one or more individuals accept direct requests from others
Society values authority
Learned at an early age to obey
More willing to comply from someone who is (or appears to be) a legitimate authority
(Baron et al.) Components of Social Influences Normative Social Influence Individuals conform:
Desire to gain social approval
Avoid and fear of rejection
Peer pressure Informational Social Influence willingness to accept other's opinions on reality and society
prefer to follow and assume others are right Group Polarization Deindividuation when a group discusses an idea that majority favors or opposes
enhances the prevailing inclinations the loss of self-awareness, self-conscious and self-restraint in a group situation
arousal in the presence of others
diminish feelings of responsibility Milgram's Obedience Experiment Famous and controversial
Run by Stanley Milgram
Early 1960s
Sole purpose: study the effects of punishment on learning Objective Subject administers electrical shocks to another person (actor) in memorization quiz
Answer incorrectly: follow instructions from supervisor, continue to administer electrical shocks as the voltage increased (to deadly max point) Results Majority administered slight to strong shocks
65% delivered 450 volts, the highest shock level
Despite pleas
More than half completed the experiment (Milgram) Obeying and Resisting Malevolent Orders (2004) APA Strong tendency to obey authority
Obey destructive orders that conflict with moral principles
Commit acts normally would not with own initiative Once accepted the right of an authority to direct actions: relinquish responsibility, and allow them to define right or wrong If in a supervised environment, with an authority figure; gives liberty to do as they please
No longer liable for their choices or actions
Given authority, superiority and power to administer pain and discomfort to another
Occasional show of hesitance but follow through Justification How Subjects Justified Actions: Cognitive Dissonance: act to reduce discomfort when immoral actions and moral brain are inconsistent
aware when attitude and actions clash: they change attitude
(Myers) Conformity and
Obedience Studies
(Myers) Forces participants to choose between adhering to own standards and being responsive to others
Kindness and obedience on a collision course, obedience usually wins Conclusion After the first acts of compliance (or resistance), attitudes began to follow and justify behaviour
Strong social influences can make people conform to falsehoods or surrender to acts of cruelty
Milgram noted "the most fundamental lesson of [his] study [is that] ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process." (Milgram) Questions Would you follow the orders of the supervisor and administer the electrical voltage?
Did you ever change an aspect of yourself to fit into a group? (ex. clothes)
Milgram's experiment was done in the 1960s before the APA ethical standards were established. Do you think it is justified to experiment on humans in order to discover monumental information about the human psyche?
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