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Social Psychology Final: Part 1

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Conformity
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Occurs when people change their behavior due to the real (or imagined) influence of others. There are two main reasons people conform: informational and normative social influences.
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How does informational social influence motivate people to conform?: Informational Social Influence
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The Need to Know What’s \”Right\” Informational social influence occurs when people do not know what is the correct (or best) thing to do or say. They look to the behavior of others as an important and needed source of information, and they use it to choose appropriate courses of action for themselves. Informational social influence usually results in private acceptance, in which people genuinely believe in what other people are doing or saying.
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How does informational social influence motivate people to conform?: Importance of Being Accurate
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In situations where it is important to be accurate, the tendency to conform to other people through informational social influence increases.
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How does informational social influence motivate people to conform?: When Informational Conformity Backfires
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Using other people as a source of information can backfire when they are wrong about what’s going on. Contagion occurs when emotions and behaviors spread rapidly throughout a group. One example is mass psychogenic illness.
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Mass Psychogenic Illness
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The occurrence in a group of people of similar physical symptoms with no known physical cause.
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How does informational social influence motivate people to conform?: When Will People Conform to Informational Social Influence?
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People are more likely to conform to informational social influence when the situation is ambiguous, when they are in a crisis, or if experts are present.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: Normative Social Influence: The Need to Be Accepted
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Normative social influence occurs when we change our behavior to match that of others because we want to remain a member of the group in good standing and continue to gain the advantages of group membership. We conform to the group’s social norms, implicit or explicit rules for acceptable behaviors, values, and attitudes. Normative social influence usually results in public compliance, but not private acceptance of other people’s ideas and behaviors.
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Social Norms
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The implicit or explicit rules a group has for the acceptable behaviors, values, and beliefs of its members.
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Public Compliance
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Conforming to other people’s behavior publicly without necessarily believing in what the other people are doing or saying.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: Conformity and Social Approval–The Asch LineJudgment Studies
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In a series of classic studies, Solomon Asch found that people would conform, at least some of the time, to the obviously wrong answer of the group.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: The Importance of Being Accurate, Revisited
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When it is important to be accurate, people are more likely to resist normative social influence and go against the group, giving the right answer.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: The Consequences of Resisting Normative Social Influence
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Resisting normative social influence can lead to ridicule, ostracism, and rejection by the group.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: Normative Social Influence in Everyday Life
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Normative social influence operates on many levels in social life: It influences our eating habits, hobbies, fashion, body image, and so on, and it promotes polite behavior in society.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: When Will People Conform to Normative Social Influence?
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Social impact theory specifies when normative social influence is most likely to occur by referring to the strength, immediacy, and size of the group. We are more likely to conform when the group is one we care about, when the group members are unanimous in their thoughts or behaviors, when the group has three or more members, and when we are members of collectivist cultures. Past conformity gives people idiosyncrasy credits, allowing them to deviate from the group without serious consequences.
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Social Impact Theory
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The idea that conforming to social influence depends on the group’s importance, its immediacy, and the number of people in the group
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Idiosyncrasy Credits
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The tolerance a person earns, over time, by conforming to group norms; if enough idiosyncrasy credits are earned, the person can, on occasion, behave deviantly without retribution from the group.
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How does normative social influence motivate people to conform?: Minority Influence–When the Few Influence the Many
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Under certain conditions, an individual (or small number of people) can influence the majority. The key is consistency in the presentation of the minority viewpoint.
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How can we use our knowledge of social influence for positive purposes?: Using Social Influence to Promote Beneficial Behavior
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Social influence techniques can be used to promote socially beneficial behavior in others. Communicating injunctive norms is a more powerful way to create change than communicating descriptive norms. In addition, one must be careful that descriptive norms do not create a \”boomerang effect.\” The Role of Injunctive and Descriptive Norms
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Injunctive Norms
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People’s perceptions of what behaviors are approved or disapproved of by others.
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Descriptive Norms
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People’s perceptions of how people actually behave in given situations, regardless of whether the behavior is approved or disapproved of by others.
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What have studies demonstrated about people’s willingness to obey someone in a position of authority?: Obedience to Authority
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In the most famous series of studies in social psychology, Stanley Milgram examined obedience to authority figures. He found chilling levels of obedience, to the point where a majority of participants administered what they thought were potentially lethal shocks to a fellow human being.
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What have studies demonstrated about people’s willingness to obey someone in a position of authority?: The Role of Normative Social Influence
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Normative pressures make it difficult for people to stop obeying authority figures. They want to please the authority figure by doing a good job.
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What have studies demonstrated about people’s willingness to obey someone in a position of authority?: The Role of Informational Social Influence
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The obedience studies created a confusing situation for participants, with competing, ambiguous demands. Unclear about how to define what was going on, they followed the orders of the expert.
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What have studies demonstrated about people’s willingness to obey someone in a position of authority?: Other Reasons We Obey
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Participants conformed to the wrong norm: They continued to follow the \”obey authority\” norm when it was no longer appropriate. It was difficult for them to abandon this norm for three reasons: the fast-paced nature of the study, the fact that the shock levels increased in small increments, and their loss of a feeling of personal responsibility.
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What have studies demonstrated about people’s willingness to obey someone in a position of authority?: The Obedience Studies, Then and Now
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Milgram’s research design was criticized on ethical grounds, involving deception, informed consent, psychological distress, the right to withdraw, and inflicted insight. A recent U.S. replication of the Milgram study found that the level of obedience in 2006 was not significantly different from that found in the classic study in the 1960s. Similarly, there was no difference in obedience between men and women participants in either time period.