PSYG2504 Social psychology Conformity and compliance

PSYG2504 Social psychology Lecture 7 Conformity and compliance 1 Outline Social influence • Conformity  What is conformity?  Why and When?  Conformity and Culture • Compliance  What is compliance?  Compliance techniques  How to resist compliance? • Obedience  What is obedience?  Determinants of obedience  Resisting destructive obedience 2 Social Influence 3 An authority The target individual A Group (Mere presence) Direct request Obedience Conformity Compliance Social Influence o Conformity  Doing what we are expected to do in a given situation  Could be a result of real or imagined group pressure o Compliance  A form of social influence involving direct requests from one person to another  Getting others to say ‘Yes’ to your requests o Obedience  Complying with a person or group perceived to be a legitimate authority  Directly order one or more people to behave in a specific way 4 • Doing what we are expected to do in a given situation according to social norm • Majority influence 5 Conformity • Jenness (1932): Jelly Beans Experiment 6 Conformity • Sherif ’s study (1936) – Autokinetic Effect • Classic Case of Suggestibility • Autokinetic Effect : A stationary spot of light in a dark room appears to move • Sherif asked students to judge the apparent movement of a stationary light on a wall Conformity Sherif’s Antokinetic Effect • In ambiguous situations , people tend to rely on information provided by others Conformity Conformity 10 Asch (1955) Line Judgment Study Conformity 11 o Subjects’ task was to pick the line on the left that best matched the target line on the right in length o Alone, people virtually never erred. But when four or five others before them gave the wrong answer, people erred about 35% of the time. 75% of subjects conformed at least once Conformity o WHY do people conform?  Informational Influence ▪ The Desire to Be Right  Normative Influence ▪ The Desire to Be Liked ▪ Norm  an understood rule for accepted and expected behavior  prescribes “proper” behavior 12 Conformity o Informational influence – Others ’ behavior often provides useful information  Trust in the group affects conformity  Task difficulty affects conformity  Conformity due to informational influence affects both public behavior and private beliefs 13 Conformity o Normative influence – The desire to be accepted and to avoid rejection from others  Conformity due to normative influence generally changes public behavior but not private beliefs • e.g. speak politely in front of me but swear among the classmates/friends • However, through dissonance reduction, a behavioral change can lead to a change in beliefs 14 Conformity • Group Size ▪ The larger the group, the more conformity — to a point ▪ Asch found that 3 -5 people elicit more conformity than just 1 -2 people • Group Unanimity ▪ Even one dissenter dramatically drops conformity (Allen & Levine, 1969) 15 o WHEN do people conform? Conformity • Cohesiveness and Commitment to the Group ▪ When one is attracted to or feel committed to the group, conformity increased • Individual characteristics ▪ The more one feels individuated, independent, secure and competent, conformity decreased 16 • Cultures differ in the extent to which people adhere to social norms . • Individual VS collective? ( Bond & Smith, 1996) Conformity and Culture Y ou were working in an office now. One person is using the photocopier and another is waiting. You want to go first in line.

☺ What can you say to the one who is waiting? 18 Imagine…  A form of social influence involving direct requests from one person to another  Getting others to say ‘Yes’ to your requests 19 Compliance Compliance o Langer et al. (1978) • “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?” • “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” • “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” 20 Compliance  “Can I use the copier now because I have to make copies ?”  Compliance increased even though the explanation provided no logical justification  “Mindless compliance ” ▪ Compliance almost without thinking  We spare the mental effort of thinking and simply comply with the situation  How if request to copy 20 rather than 5 pages? 21 Compliance Suppose you’ve lost your account password, but in a hurry of searching for journals in the library… how would you borrow your friend’s library account? 22 Compliance:

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underlying principles Cialdini (1994) 1. Friendship/liking – we are willing to comply with requests from friends and from people we like 2. Commitment/consistency – once committed to a position/action, more willing to comply with requests for behaviors that are consistent with the position/action 3. Reciprocity – we feel compelled to pay back ; we are more likely to comply with a request from someone who has previously helped us 4 Scarcity – we comply with requests that are scarce or decreasing in availability 5. Authority – we comply with requests that are from someone who holds legitimate authority (obedience) 6. Social validation – We want to be correct: we act or think like others 23 Compliance:

Specific techniques 1. Technique based on liking o Ingratiation  Getting others to like us so that they are more willing to agree to our requests (Jones, 1964)  Impression management by 1. Flattery – praising others 2. Self -promotion – informing others about the past accomplishments (e.g. I’m really very organized…) 3. Improving one’s own appearance 4. Emitting more positive nonverbal cues 5. Doing small favors for the target people 6. Incidental similarity – call attention to small and slightly surprising similarities 24 Compliance:

Specific techniques 2. Techniques based on commitment or consistency o Foot -in -the -Door Technique  First make a small request (usually so trivial that it is hard to refuse, e.g. free sample) and then follow with a larger request  Freedman & Fraser (1966): The billboard experiment 25 Compliance:

Specific techniques  Reasons: 1. Self -perception theory – the individual’s self – image changes as a result of the initial act of compliance 2. Desire to be consistent – especially for those who express a strong personal preference for consistency 26 Compliance:

Specific techniques 2. Techniques based on commitment or consistency o Lowball procedure  Getting others to comply by changing a deal after the person has accepted it  Initial commitment made it difficult to walk away even though there have been changes made 27 Compliance:

Specific techniques 3. Techniques based on reciprocity o Door -in -the -Face Technique  First make an unreasonably large request, then after being rejected, shift to a smaller request  Cialdini et al. (1975) stopped college students on the street and asked them to serve as unpaid counselors for juvenile delinquents 2 hours a week for 2 years  Results?  Scaled down to a 2 -hour trip to the zoo with a group of such adolescent  50% agreed!  Control group: only 17%  Why is it related to reciprocity? 28 Compliance:

Specific techniques 3. Techniques based on reciprocity o That’s -Not -All Technique  Add additional bonus or discount to sweeten the deal before the target has accepted the deal  Burger’s (1986) tried to sell one cupcake and two cookies for 75 cents to students on campus 29  A prepackaged (1 cupcake & 2 cookies) set for 75 cents  75 cents for the cupcake and then 2 FREE cookies!  Persons on the receiving end view the “extra” as an added concession, and feel obligated to make a concession themselves Compliance:

Specific techniques 4. Techniques based on scarcity o Playing Hard to Get Technique  Suggesting a person or object is scarce and hard to obtain  Commonly observed in the area of romance  Shown to be effective in job hunting (William et al., 1993) o Deadline Technique  Targets are told that they have only limited time to take advantage of some offer or to obtain some items 30 Compliance:

Specific techniques • Other Techniques o Pique Technique  Make an unusual request to pique (stimulate) target’s interest and disrupt target’s mindless refusal script  Santos et al. (1994) asked college women confederates posed as panhandlers (beggars) and approached pedestrians for money 31  “Can you spare any change?”  “Can you spare a quarter?”  “Can you spare 17 cents / 37 cents?”  Total amount of money given was higher as well Group discussion • Using techniques you have just learnt, as well as your knowledge of Social Psychology, devise a plan to borrow $500 from a classmate in the Canteen. You can include confederate(s) if you wish. • Techniques:

 Ingratiation  Foot -in -the door technique  Door -in -the face technique  That’s -not -all technique  Lowball technique  Pique technique • Rules  The plan should be reasonable and practical  No coercion 32 Resisting Compliance o Reactance theory (Brehm, 1966)  People attempt to maintain their personal freedom of action  Bensley and Wu (1991) ▪ studied anti -drinking messages of 2 intensities ▪ Mild: there is “good evidence” and “you may wish to carefully consider” these findings ▪ Strong: there is “conclusive evidence” of the harm of drinking and that “any reasonable person must acknowledge these conclusions” 33 ▪ In the first study, average students reported that they intended to drink less in the coming few days after reading the mild message ▪ In the second study, fairly heavy alcohol drinkers (college students) actually consumed more beer after reading the strong message  Thus, attempts that threaten perceived freedom may backfire 34 Resisting Compliance Obedience o An extreme form of social influence involved changing your opinions, judgments, or actions because someone in a position of authority told you to o Obedience is based on the belief that authorities have the right to make requests  Would you harm an innocent stranger if ordered to do so? 35 Obedience o The Milgram Experiments (1963, 1974)  Milgram was interested in the point at which people would disobey the experimenter in the face of the learner’s protests  imagine you are in Yale Univ. Psy . Dept.  the experiment is about the effect of punishment on learning  You and another person are teacher and learner  You have to read aloud pairs of words that the learner has to memorize 36 Obedience o The Milgram Experiments (1963, 1974)  The learner mentions that he has a slightly weak heart  You control an electric shock machine  When he is wrong, you have to punish him: first by “15 Volts – Slight Shock” and in the end, “450 Volts – XXX” 37 Obedience o Sample of the learner’s schedule of protests (recording)  75V: Ugh!  165V: Ugh! Let me out! (Shouting)  270V: (Screaming) Let me out of here (3 times).

Let me out. Do you hear? Let me out of here.  285V: (Screaming)  315V: (Intense screaming) I told you I refuse to answer. I’m no longer part of this experiment.  (No more sound in the end) o The experiment’s script 1. Please continue. 2. The experiment requires that you continue. 3. It is absolutely essential that you continue. 4. You have no other choice; you MUST go on. 38 Obedience 39 Percentage of subjects who obeyed experimenter XXX (435 -450) Shock levels in volts 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Slight (15 -60) Moderate (75 -120) Strong (135 -180) Very strong (195 -240) Intense (255 -300) Extreme intensity (315 -360) Danger severe (375 -420) ◆ Psychiatrists guessed that 1 in 1000 would go clear to 450 volts (* Only “True Psychopaths”) ◆ But, in the original study, 26/40 went all the way 40 Obedience Determinants of Obedience o Emotional distance of the victim  Victim is remote, ‘teachers’ heard no complaints  Victim depersonalized o Closeness and legitimacy of the authority  Experimenter is close to the ‘teachers’  perceived authority or legitimacy o Institutional authority  The reputation/prestige of the University o The liberating effects of group influence  Two confederates defied the experimenter  The real participant discontinue 41 Obedience o The Milgram experiments illustrate what he called the “ normality thesis ”  The idea that evil acts are not necessarily performed by abnormal or “crazy” people o He also succeeded in illustrating the power of social situations to influence human behavior o His findings were replicated in different countries (e.g., Jordan, Germany, Australia) and with children as well as adults (e.g.

Shanab & Yahya, 1977) 42 Obedience o Variations increasing obedience  Watching a peer give shocks (>90%)  Two other teachers continue (>70%) o Variations decreasing obedience  Experiment taken place in office building (<50%)  Increasing closeness of learner (~40%)  Teacher grasps learner’s hand and force it down upon a metal shock plate! (~30%)  Increasing distance of experimenter (~20%)  Ordinary people as experimenter (<20%)  Two other teachers quit (<10%)  No command (control group) (<<10%) 43 Obedience Resisting Destructive Obedience ◆ Be reminded of personal responsibility ◆ Be reminded that blind obedience is not appropriate at certain point ➢ Provide disobedient models ➢ Social influence can breed defiance and help resist destructive obedience ◆ Question authority’s expertise and motives ◆ Beware and acknowledge people’s tendency to unquestioned obedience Are we all “Nazis”? ◆ NO , an individual’s character can make a difference ◆ Authoritarian Personality – Submissive toward figures of authority but aggressive toward subordinates. Continuum of Social Influence

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