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There are a number of reasons why people allow social influences to affect their thoughts and behavior. One reason is that we often conform to the norms of a group to gain acceptance of its members. Supporters of a football team voluntarily wear shirts of their teams to feel a part of the group. Friends may also wear similar clothing to their peers to experience a sense of belonging and to emphasise their shared ideas. Group conformity can also encourage cooperation when attempting to achieve a shared goal. When an individual is able to exhibit a minority influence over a wider group, he or she can persuade that group to work collectively.

For example, charity organizers recruiting new volunteers advocate improving their community e.

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Additionally, group conformity enables a sense of cohesion within a society. Laws prohibiting violence and theft help to protect every individual within a community. However, such laws depend on people conforming to the norms of the wider group by acting as law-abiding citizens. Whilst social influence can have a positive effect on behavior, its disadvantages have been a motivating factor behind research into conformity by psychologists such as Stanley Milgram. Conformity to a narrow set of behaviors and views can discourage the nurturing of new ideas which could improve the lives of a group.

Another form of social influence - minority influence - has also been used historically for malign purposes. People tend to conform for one of two reasons: to act based on a more informed view informative social influence or to match the views and behavior of a social group normative social influence :.

People feel the need to be informed by accurate information, and when they lack confidence in their own knowledge, they turn to others in the hope that they will provide them with the correct information. By accepting this information, regardless of whether it is accurate, the person is subjected to social influence.

Social psychologist Muzafer Sherif demonstrated informative social influence in an experiment using the autokinetic effect. Sherif placed participants in a darkened room, then projected a single, stationary light onto the wall facing them. One group of participants was then asked individually how far the light had moved. Based on their own perception alone, they reported that the light had shifted widely varying distances. A second group was also asked how far the light had moved, but gave their answers in front of other members of the group. Sherif found that participants who gave their answers in a group provided varying distances, but that the reported movement eventually fell into an ever-smaller range.

A second type of conformity is normative social influence. They value the opinions of other members, and seek to maintain their standing within the group.

social influence

Therefore, individuals will adjust their own attitudes and behavior to match the accepted norms of the group. This conformity with the majority may involve following the fashion trends that are popular amongst a group of friends, adopting the rituals of a religious group or watching a particular TV show because classmates at college talk about it. Social influence takes a number of forms. One type of such influence is conformity , when a person adopts the opinions or behaviors of others. An individual may conform to the opinions and values of a group.

They express support for views accepted by the group and will withhold criticism of group norms. When conforming to the social norms of a group, a person may disagree with the opinions that they express or the actions that they take, but nonetheless, they adopt the behavior that is expected of them. One of the most-cited researchers into conformity was the Polish psychologist Solomon Asch In the s, he carried out a series of experiments known as the Asch Paradigms to understand the circumstances which led to people conforming to a majority influence.

In an experiment at Swarthmore College, Asch Asch and Guetzkow, presented participants with a printed line of a given length, and a series of additional lines of varying lengths.


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One of the lines was the same length as in the initial image, whilst the other two were significantly different. In a group setting, participants were then asked to individually report which of the lines was the same length as the first. They were unaware that other members of the group were confederates who, in some of the trials, had been instructed to answer that a line which was clearly of a different length matched that of the original line.


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  4. Participants were torn between two options: did they report the answer which they had observed to be obviously correct but contradict other members of the group? Or, should they disregard their private opinion and report the answer that other group members were reporting? Even when the correct answer was obvious, Asch found that participants would conform to the group norm and report obviously inaccurate answers. Kelman distinguished between 3 types of conformity, including identification. This occurs when an individual identifies with other members of a group and conforms to its opinions and behaviors.

    In doing so, they may seek to gain the favor of other members and to be accepted into the group. When identifying with a group, a person does not internalise its norms. When they leave the group, they may assume their own beliefs and behaviors. For example, an employee joining an office may go bowling as colleagues on her team like to visit the bowling alley once a week. Privately, however, she may dislike the pastime and prefer to spend it reading at home. The person may not only express the views of the group publically, but also adopts these new views and regards them as being his or her own - a form of private conformity.

    The internalization of new beliefs frequently occurs in religious groups, when members privately adopt the spiritual ideas expressed by the authority figures e. Another form of conformity is achieved through compliance.

    Social Influence: Crash Course Psychology #38

    This involves a request that an individual or group complies with the instructions of another. Unlike internalization, compliance does not require private conformity , as a person may reluctantly comply with a request whilst privately doubting it. Compliance frequently occurs when a person is asked by an authority figure to meet a particular set of demands. For example, drivers comply with the directions given by traffic wardens, and students comply with the requests of their teacher, who they view as holding a position of authority. Compliance may be achieved using a number of techniques known as compliance strategies.

    These are often used by salespeople to persuade potential customers to fulfill their request to place orders.

    Social Influence As Stimulus Control | Weatherly | Behavior and Social Issues

    Compliance strategies include the foot-in-the-door technique , which involves a person making a small initial request in order to gain compliance with another question. Once a person has complied with a request, they are more likely to agree to a later, more significant, request. For example, a car sales representative may ask a prospective customer to agree to test-drive a new car. The door-in-the-face technique is another compliance strategy which takes an opposite approach.

    An unreasonably large request is made initially, followed by the request that the subject is expected to comply with. A person will almost certainly reject the first request, but the second appears more reasonable when compared to it, and so they may be more inclined to comply with the second proposition. Read more about compliance strategies here.

    Obedience is a form of public conformity which occurs when a person modifies their behavior to obey the directions of another, often in a position of authority. It does not require a subject to alter his or her private opinion. Hierarchical relationships often involve one party obeying the orders of another. Research on conformity, obedience, and social facilitation demonstrates that these constructs involve stimulus control.

    Recognizing social influence as stimulus control is advantageous because it is parsimonious, creates new avenues of research, and could potentially broaden the application of behavior analysis. To support this second point, we conducted a questionnaire-based study to demonstrate that the fundamental attribution error, a social-psychological phenomenon outside the typical definition of "social influence," is also influenced by the presence of conspecifics, as predicted from a behavior-analytic viewpoint.

    Conformity / Majority Influence

    This prediction was supported, suggesting that recognizing social influence as stimulus control may prove fruitful. This example shows my account Cugels with the AlterSpark team working on a template project. On this screen, GitHub even gives metrics on when and how much each member has contributed to the project.

    In this second GitHub example, Rena and I are collaborating on a charting engine. We actually sit next to each other when working, but use GitHub to improve our collaboration, avoid conflicts, and even keep our collaboration going when working remotely. People compete when working against each other to achieve their goals, fostering a win-lose context where competitors mistrust each other. In cases of intra-group competition, like members of sports teams competing with each other, they tend to be over rank or status while members still share a common set of win-win goals.

    The types of people who are most sensitive to competition are those who are competitive by nature and enjoy competing with others on every level. Applying: Provide competitors with a common goal and information about other persons or groups pursuing it. Ensure the system stimulates and allows its users to compete among each other. DOODLEAddicts brings out the competitive spirit in artists with periodic drawing challenges where artists submit their work to competitions judged by community votes.

    The winners receive prizes along with recognition one of the principles in Prof.