1 Anonymous Asked: April 28, 2020In: Psychology Explain the meaning of social influence elaborate the various areas of social influence. 1 1 Answer Voted Oldest Recent Best Answer admin Added an answer on June 23, 2020 at 10:53 am Social influence is the change in behaviour that one person causes in another, intentionally or unintentionally, as a result of the way the changed person perceives themselves in relationship to the influencer, other people and society in general. Three areas of social influence are conformity, compliance and obedience. Conformity is changing how you behave to be more like others. This plays to belonging and esteem needs as we seek the approval and friendship of others. Conformity can run very deep, as we will even change our beliefs and values to be like those of our peers and admired superiors. Compliance is where a person does something that they are asked to do by another. They may choose to comply or not to comply, although the thoughts of social reward and punishment may lead them to compliance when they really do not want to comply. Obedience is different from compliance in that it is obeying an order from someone that you accept as an authority figure. In compliance, you have some choice. In obedience, you believe that you do not have a choice. Many military officers and commercial managers are interested only in obedience. Three areas of social influence are conformity, compliance and obedience. Conformity is changing how you behave to be more like others. This plays to belonging and esteem needs as we seek the approval and friendship of others. Conformity can run very deep, as we will even change our beliefs and values to be like those of our peers and admired superiors. Compliance is where a person does something that they are asked to do by another. They may choose to comply or not to comply, although the thoughts of social reward and punishment may lead them to compliance when they really do not want to comply. Obedience is different from compliance in that it is obeying an order from someone that you accept as an authority figure. In compliance, you have some choice. In obedience, you believe that you do not have a choice. Many military officers and commercial managers are interested only in obedience. Conformity: Conformity is the process by which an individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours are conditioned by what is conceived to be what other people might perceive. This influence occurs in both small groups and society as a whole, and it may be the result of subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity also occurs by the “Implied Presence” of others, or when other people are not actually present. For example, people tend to follow the norms of society when eating or watching television, even when they are at home by themselves. People often conform from a desire to achieve a sense of security within a group–typically a group that is of a similar age, culture, religion, or educational status. Any unwillingness to conform carries with it the very real risk of social rejection. In this respect, conformity can be seen as a safe means of avoiding bullying or deflecting criticism from peers. Conformity is often associated with adolescence and youth culture, but it affects humans of all ages. Although peer pressure may be viewed as a negative trait, conformity can have either good or bad effects depending on the situation. Driving safely on the correct side of the road is a beneficial example of conformity. Conformity influences the formation and maintenance of social norms and allows society to function smoothly and predictably. Because conformity is a group phenomenon, such factors as group size, unanimity, cohesion, status, prior commitment, and public opinion all help to determine the level of conformity an individual will display (Aronson, et.al. (2007). Factors Found to Increase Conformity Asch’s experiment inspired a lot of follow-up research by other experimenters. Factors found to increase conformity included the following: (1) Attractiveness of other members in the group: People tended to go along with a group of attractive people. (2) Complexity or difficulty of the task: People were more likely to conform if the judgment was difficult. (3) Group cohesiveness: People conformed more if friendships or mutual dependencies were set up beforehand To appreciate further the nature of this dilemma, let us imagine an introductory lecture in psychology. The instructor is describing the Asch study and has just shown a picture of the experimental stimuli. Suddenly he is interrupted by a student who remarks, “But line A is the correct answer…” Predictably, the class would laugh aloud and thereby communicate their enjoyment of their peer’s joke. Suppose, however, that the dissenter failed to smile or to otherwise confirm that he was trying to be funny. Suppose, instead, that he insisted, “Why are you all laughing at me? I can see perfectly, and line A is correct.” Once convinced of the dissenter’s sincerity, the class response almost certainly would be a mixture of discomfort, bewilderment, concern, and doubt about the dissenter’s mental and perceptual competence. It is this response that the Asch dissenters risked and, accordingly, it is not surprising that many chose to avoid it through conformity. Compliance: In psychology, compliance refers to the act of responding favourably to an explicit or implicit request offered by others. The request may be explicit, such as a direct request for donations, or implicit, such as an advertisement promoting its products without directly asking for purchase. In all cases, the target recognises that he or she is being urged to respond in a desired way. To study the compliance professions from the inside, Cialdini (2001) joined training programs of a different compliance professions (sales, advertising, public relations, etc.) and started the participant observation. He found that some principles are commonly used to increase the probability of successful compliance, including reciprocation, credibility, liking/friendship, scarcity and social validation. Principles Observed by Robert Cialdini – The principles observed by Cialdini include (i) reciprocation, (ii) credibility (iii) Liking / friendship (iv) Scarcity (v) Social validation and (vi) Commitment Reciprocation: Based on the social norm “treat others as you would expect to be treated”, when someone does us a favour, it creates an obligation to accept any reasonable requests he or she might make in return. We feel a motivation to reciprocate. For instance if someone does something for you (such as giving you a compliment), then you feel more obligated to do something for them (buy a product they may be offering). Failing to respond leads to violation of our obligation to reciprocate and bears the risk of social sanction. Guilt arousal produces an increase in compliance. People who are induced to guilt are more likely to comply with a request such as making a phone call to save native trees or donating blood. Research findings supports in that this can be demonstrated by experiment. Participants acted as subjects to answer questions under two conditions. When they answered wrongly, participants acted as shock administrator and delivered shock in condition A . When participants acted as witness, witnessing subjects being shocked in condition B. After a few trials, requests for making calls were made. Results showed that participants in condition A were more likely to comply with the requests by making many more calls (39 calls) than those in condition B. It is because participants in condition A comply with the requests in order to ward off their guilty feeling. Credibility: The source of requests will also affect whether we comply or not. If the source is an expert, with knowledge, abilities or skills, i.e. more credible, we would respect the request more and would be more likely to comply. This principle is used as a marketing strategy, where they put on white lab coats which, from a consumer’s point of view, will symbolise authority. One of the experiments conducted in this regard invited five hundred university students to join the study about their opinion of sleep. In the first stage, students gave their opinion on the optimum length of sleep and the average result was about eight hours. Then, students received advice from two sources, one was a physiologist who won a Nobel Prize before and was a specialist on sleep research. Liking/Friendship: People are more likely to say yes to those they know and like because of the Social Exchange Theory, which states that human relationships are formed by using a subjective cost-benefit analysis and the comparison of alternatives. Thus, complying with a person we like certainly is more favourable. This principle is used by salesmen all over the world. The principle of liking is common within neighbourhoods, neighbours selling and buying things from each other. When you feel that you trust a person you feel more obliged to buy the thing that they’re selling. In an experiment conducted by Dennis (2006), 115 female and 94 male undergraduate students were requested to complete a questionnaire asking them the degree of intimacy with their partners. Besides, participants were also asked to consider 32 behavioural change messages e.g. smoking cessation, safe sex practice, etc. as if these were delivered to them by their partners and to estimate their effectiveness on a 5-point scale. The result showed that higher levels of intimacy within romantic relationships are significantly and positively correlated with the estimated success of appeals targeted at health-related behavioural motivations. Scarcity: The scarcity effect refers to the influence of perceived scarcity on the subjective desirability of an object. Individuals do not want to be left alone without an item. A consumer often infers value in a product that has limited availability or is promoted as being scarce. The idea of “Limited Edition” which can be seen all over the world is based on the principle of scarcity. When we see that an object is limited we feel the urge to buy them in order to not be left out. This also relates to the key explanation to one of the fundamental concepts in economics “Supply and Demand”. A classical experiment was done by Worchel et al. (1975). Jars of chocolate chip cookies were shown to the subjects who were then asked to rate ‘how much do you like the cookies’, ‘how attractive the cookies are’ and ‘how much would you pay for the cookies’. Obedience: Obedience is a form of social influence where an individual acts in response to a direct order from another individual, who is usually an authority figure. It is assumed that without such an order the person would not have acted in this way. Obedience occurs when you are told to do something (authority), whereas conformity happens through social pressure (the norms of the majority). Obedience involves a hierarchy of power/status. Therefore, the person giving the order has a higher status than the person receiving the order. Obedience is the act of obeying orders from others. As humans we are indoctrinated to obey authority figures. This training begins from the moment of birth as we are reliant on our parents to take care of our every need, in turn being subservient to our authority figures or parents. As we begin to mature and are thrust into society we obtain more influential authority figures from outside the household. Schools have a system of order and authority. Teachers give us guidance and direction academically and even socially because we begin to learn how to act in a group or societal setting. The school environment is all a preparation for careers. When we begin working most of us work for a company or organisation with all levels of management who we must be obedient to. As we mature we are given more and more responsibility over our actions and judgments, thus making it more beneficial to our societal advancement to be obedient. Stanley Milgram, a famous social psychologist, performs a number of experiments on human obedience in the 1960’s. Obedience, in human behaviour, is the quality of being obedient, which describes the act of carrying out commands, or being actuated. Obedience differs from compliance, which is behaviour influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behaviour intended to match that of the majority. Humans have been shown to be surprisingly obedient in the presence of perceived legitimate authority figures, as demonstrated by the Milgram experiment in the 1960s, which was carried out by Stanley Milgram to discover how the Nazis managed to get ordinary people to take part in the mass murders of the Holocaust. The experiment showed that obedience to authority was the norm, not the exception. Forms of Obedience: Obedience is the tendency to follow orders given by an authority figure. This can be explained by Milgram’s Agency Theory, which states that we are in either one of two states. Forms of human obedience include: Obedience to laws; Obedience to social norms; Obedience to a monarch, government, organisation, religion, or church; Obedience to God; Obedience to self-imposed constraints, such as a vow of chastity; Obedience of a spouse or child to a husband/wife or parent respectively; Obedience to management in the workplace. Cultural Attitudes to Obedience: Obedience is regarded as a virtue in many traditional cultures; historically, children have been expected to be obedient to their elders, slaves to their owners, serfs to their lords in feudal society, lords to their king, and everyone to God. Even long after slavery ended in the United States, the Black codes required black people to obey and submit to whites, on pain of lynching. In some Christian weddings, obedience was formally included along with honor and love as part of a conventional bride’s (but not the bridegroom’s) wedding vow. This came under attack with women’s suffrage and the feminist movement. Today its inclusion in marriage vows is optional in some denominations. As the middle classes have gained political power, the power of authority has been progressively eroded, with the introduction of democracy as a major turning point in attitudes to obedience and authority. Since the democides and genocides of the First World War and Second World War periods, obedience has come to be regarded as a far less desirable quality in Western cultures. The civil rights and protest movements in the second half of the twentieth century marked a remarkable reduction in respect for authority in Western cultures, and greater respect for individual ethical judgment as a basis for moral decisions. Obedience Training of Human Beings: Some animals can easily be trained to be obedient by employing operant conditioning, for example obedience schools exist to condition dogs into obeying the orders of human owners. Obedience training seems to be particularly effective on social animals a category that includes human beings; other animals do not respond well to such training. Learning to obey adult rules is a major part of the socialisation process in childhood, and many techniques are used by adults to modify the behaviour of children. Additionally, extensive training is given in armies to make soldiers capable of obeying orders in situations where an untrained person would not be willing to follow orders. Soldiers are initially ordered to do seemingly trivial things, such as picking up the sergeant’s hat off the floor, marching in just the right position, or marching and standing in formation. The orders gradually become more demanding, until an order to the soldiers to place themselves into the midst ofgunfire gets a knee-jerk obedient response. From MPC-004 Advanced Social Psychology – IGNOU 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Leave an answerLeave an answerCancel reply Featured image Select file Browse Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.