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ocial psychology. ** Influence of real, imagined, or implied presence of others. Conformity. 12.1 What factors influence people to conform to the actions of others?.

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** Influence of real, imagined, or implied presence of others


  • 12.1 What factors influence people to conform to the actions of others?

  • Social influence: Process through which the real or implied presence of others can directly or indirectly influence the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of an individual

  • ** Conformity: Changing one’s own behavior to match that of other people


  • Asch study

    • Subjects conformed to group opinion about 1/3 of the time

1 2 3

Standard Line

Comparison Lines

Source: Adapted from Asch (1956).


** Groupthink:

Occurs when a decision-making group feels that it is more important to maintain group unanimity and cohesiveness than to consider the facts realistically


  • Compliance and consumer psychology:

    • Door-in-the-face technique

    • Lowball technique

  • ** Foot-in-the-door technique asking for a small commitment and, after gaining compliance, asking for a bigger commitment.

    • Telemarketers know that anyone who agrees to listen to a pitch is more likely to by the product.

    • ** That’s-not-all technique


  • 12.3 What factors make obedience more likely?

  • Compliance due to perceived authority of the asker

  • Request perceived as command

Milgram s obedience experiment
Milgram’s Obedience Experiment


    Participants (“teachers”) were instructed to give electric shocks to another person (“learner”), who only pretended to be shocked.


    65%obeyed until the end, even though many were upset by being asked to do so.

Sample script items from milgram s classic experiment
Sample Script Items from Milgram’s Classic Experiment

  • ** No one single personality trait was found to be associated to high levels of obedience.

Group behavior
Group Behavior

  • Group polarization: Tendency for members involved in a group discussion to take somewhat more extreme positions and suggest riskier actions when compared to individuals who have not participated in a group discussion

Group behavior1

** Social facilitation: Positive influence of others on performance

Social impairment: Negative influence of others on performance

** Social loafing: When lazy person works in a group, that person often performs less well than if the person were working alone

Group Behavior


“She is such a nice person.”

  • ** Attitude: Tendency to respond positively or negatively toward certain people, ideas, objects, or situations


Components of Attitudes




I like country

music; it's fun

and uplifting.

I thinkcountry music is better than any other kind of music.

I buy country music CDs every chance I get.

Attitude formation





Attitude Formation

Attitude formation can be the result of several processes:

Direct contact

Direct instruction

** Interaction with others

Vicarious learning


  • ** Persuasion: Attempt to change another’s attitude via argument, explanation, etc.

    • Source of message

    • Message itself

    • Target audience

Elaboration likelihood model
Elaboration Likelihood Model

  • Involves attending to the content of the message itself

  • Involves attending to factors not involved in the message, such as:

  • Appearance of source of message

  • Length of message

Peripheral route

Direct route

Cognitive dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance

  • ** Cognitive dissonance:

  • Discomfort arising when one’s thoughts and behaviors do not correspond

  • Lessening cognitive dissonance:

    • Change the conflicting behavior

    • Change the conflicting attitude

    • Form a new attitude to justify the behavior

“I repeated gossip about my friend Chris.”

“I am a good, loyal friend.”

Impression formation and social categorization
Impression Formation and Social Categorization

Impression formation:Forming of first knowledge about another person

Influenced by primacy effect

Part of social cognition

  • Stereotype:Set of characteristics that people believe is shared by all members of a particular social category

  • Social categorization: Automatic unconscious assignment of a new acquaintance to some category or group




Dispositional (internal)

  • Attribution: Process of explaining the behavior of others as well as one’s own behavior

  • ** Fundamental attribution error (actor-observer bias)

“He probably got caught in some bad traffic, and then he was late for a meeting.”

“He’s such a careless driver. He never watches out for other cars.”

Prejudice and discrimination
Prejudice and Discrimination

  • Prejudice:

  • Negative thoughts and feelings about a particular group

  • Discrimination:

  • Treating others differently because of prejudice

Types of prejudice and discrimination
Types of Prejudice and Discrimination

  • In-group: Social groups with whom a person identifies; “us”

  • Out-group:Social groups with whom a person does not identify; “them”

  • Realistic conflict theory

  • Scapegoating

  • **** Forms of prejudice include:

    • Ageism

    • Sexism

    • Racism

    • Too fat

    • Too thin



How people learn prejudice
How People Learn Prejudice

Social cognitive theory

Social identity theory

Stereotype vulnerability

  • Formation of a person’s identity within a particular group due to:

  • Social categorization

  • Social identity

  • Social comparison

  • Knowledge of someone else’s stereotyped opinions

  • Self-fulfilling prophecy

  • Stereotype threat

Views prejudice as an attitude acquired through direct instruction, modeling, and other social influences

Rules of attraction
Rules of Attraction

  • 12.10 What factors govern attraction and love, and what are some different kinds of love?

  • Interpersonal attraction:Liking or having the desire for a relationship with another person

  • Factors

  • Physical attractiveness

  • Proximity

  • Similarity

  • Complementary qualities

  • Reciprocity of liking

Sternberg s triangular theory of love three components of love




Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love: Three Components of Love

Sternberg s triangular theory of love different forms of love
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love: Different Forms of Love

  • Intimacy, passion, and commitment produce seven different kinds of love:

    • Liking

    • Infatuation

    • Empty

    • Romantic

    • Fatuous

    • Companionate

    • Consummate

Source: Adapted from Sternberg (1986).


  • Biological influences:

    • Genetics

    • Amygdala and limbic system

    • Testosterone and serotonin levels

  • Learning influences:

    • Social learning theory and social roles

    • Media violence

Prosocial behavior
Prosocial Behavior

  • Altruism and prosocial behavior

  • ** Bystander effect

  • Diffusion of responsibility

    • Fewer bystanders = less diffusion, more help

Latan and darley s study
Latané and Darley’s Study

  • Participants in room filling with smoke more likely to report smoke when alone

Source: Latané & Darley (1969).

Five steps in making a decision to help
Five Steps in Making a Decision to Help

  • Noticing

  • Defining an emergency

  • Taking responsibility

  • Planning a course of action

  • Taking action

Anatomy of a cult
Anatomy of a Cult

  • Cults use love-bombing, isolation, rituals, and activities to keep new recruits from questioning, critical thinking

  • Also use the foot-in-the-door technique