Chapter 6 conformity and influence in groups
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Chapter 6 Conformity and Influence In Groups. “Four out of five dentists recommend…”. Conformity to Group Norms. Norms are expectations governing group member’s behavior. Norms may be formal, explicit no cheating on tests Norms may be informal, implicit no picking your nose during class

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Chapter 6Conformity andInfluenceIn Groups

“Four out of five dentists recommend…”

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Conformity to Group Norms

  • Norms are expectations governing group member’s behavior.

    • Norms may be formal, explicit

      • no cheating on tests

    • Norms may be informal, implicit

      • no picking your nose during class

    • Norms may not be apparent until violated

      • Is texting during class okay?

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Early Conformity Research

  • Sherif demonstrated conformity to group judgments.

    • Autokinetic effect: a stationary point of light, in a completely dark room, appears to be moving.

    • Individuals’ estimates of the amount of movement conformed to the group’s.

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Early Conformity Research

  • Asch found conformity to group judgments

    • Individuals estimated the length of lines.

    • Group members (confederates) offered different judgments.

    • 75% of all subjects modified their estimates to conform to the group.

    • Public conformity doesn’t necessarily imply private conformity.

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Influence of Norms

  • Groups may punish deviation from established norms.

  • Norms are most influential in ambiguous social situations.

    • Subjects littered more in a setting where others were seen littering.

  • Norms may persist even if they are dysfunctional.

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Group Size and Conformity

  • Social impact theory

    • Each additional member adds pressure to conform.

    • Each new member’s influence is proportionally less.

  • Social influence model

    • The first few people added exert the most pressure to conform.

    • Conformity levels off with additional members.

      • For example, if the first 9 group members don’t convince someone, neither will the 10th.

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Group Size and Conformity

  • Informational influence

    • Members want to be correct, accurate.

    • More heads are better than one.

    • Consistent with social influence model

  • Normative influence

    • Members want to be liked, accepted by the group.

    • Groups provide a sense belonging, connectedness.

    • Consistent with social impact theory

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Resisting Pressure to Conform

  • It is difficult for a lone dissenter to resist unanimous group pressure.

  • A holdout with even one ally can resist more easily.

    • A second dissenter decreases conformity by 80%.

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Factors Affecting Conformity

  • Identification and reference groups

    • Reference groups provide standards of comparison for self-appraisal.

      • “Keeping up with the Joneses…”

    • People consider reference groups when making decisions.

  • Groupthink

    • Members engage in consensus-seeking.

    • They reinforce one another’s opinions.

    • They fail to question or analyze ideas.

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Gender and Conformity

  • In general women tend to conform more than men.

    • Sex roles affect conformity

      • Females are socialized to be more communal.

      • Males are socialized to be more independent.

    • Status affects conformity

      • Sex functions as a status cue.

      • Males generally enjoy higher status in organizational settings.

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Peer Pressure and Conformity

  • Peer influence increases during adolescence.

  • Peer pressure can promote risky behaviors.

    • Tobacco, alcohol, drug use

  • Peer pressure can lead to aggression.

    • Hazing, teasing, ostracism can spark violence.

    • Online hazing can trigger suicides.

  • Peer pressure also has positive effects.

    • Peers also model desirable behavior.

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Personality and Conformity

  • High self-monitors tend to conform more than low self-monitors.

  • Dogmatic people tend to conform more than non-dogmatics.

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Culture and Conformity

  • Ethnocentrism

    • Using one’s own culture as the benchmark for judging other cultures.

  • Individualism-Collectivism

    • Individualistic cultures view conformity more negatively.

    • Collectivistic cultures view conformity more positively.

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The Why’s of Conformity

  • Group locomotion

    • The individual goes along to achieve the goals of the group.

  • Social comparison

    • The group is a yardstick for measuring one’s own performance.

  • Consistency

    • Liking and identification with the group discourages deviance

  • Epistemological weighting

    • Members think the group knows more than they do.

  • Hedonistic hypothesis

    • Members conform to receive social benefits, avoid social rejection.

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Social Proof

  • Monkey see, monkey do

    • People base their behavior on what others are doing.

    • Internet piracy

    • Urban graffiti

  • Viral marketing relies on social proof

    • A social phenomenon is spread by word of mouth.

  • Negative social proof

    • “Everyone else is doing it” is based on appeals to the crowd.

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Social Loafing

  • Slackers: People exert less effort in a group than working alone.

    • The Ringlemann effect: in a tug of war, adding team members reduces individual effort.

    • Decision making & problem solving: as members are added, individual effort tapers off.

  • Collective effort model

    • Members coast if individuals’ contributions can’t be distinguished.

  • Free ride effect

    • Members coast if they are anonymous.

    • Members coast if they aren’t personally accountable.

  • Sucker effect

    • Productive members slack off when they see others aren’t working.

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Risk-Taking Behavior

  • Risky-shift phenomenon

    • Groups are prone to make riskier decisions than individuals.

    • The group’s consensus is typically riskier than the average risk-level of its members.

  • Group polarization

    • Groups enhance members’ pre-existing tendencies toward risk-taking or risk-aversion.

    • High risk-takers skew the average willingness of the group to assume risks.

  • Social comparison theory

    • Members entertain ideas they would not otherwise consider.

  • Persuasive arguments theory (PAT)

    • The most vocal members advocate the most extreme views.

  • There can also be a shift toward greater caution

    • More vocal members may advocate greater caution.

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  • Social ostracism can lead to anti-social behavior

    • School shootings

    • Cyber-bullying

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  • Depersonalization

    • Individual identity is subsumed to that of the group.

    • Personal accountability is lacking.

    • A diffusion of responsibility occurs.

      • “It’s not my problem.”

      • “It’s none of my business.”

    • Anonymity increases deindividuation.

  • Negative social consequences

    • Mob psychology

      • Vandalism perpetrated by unruly sports fans

      • Treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq

    • Crowd size affects antisocial behavior.

    • Bystander effects

      • Bystanders may fail to help in an emergency.

    • Self-Awareness

      • Increasing self-awareness reduces deindividuation.

      • Increasing accountability decreases deindividuation.

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The Bystander effect

  • Richmond, CA, 2009: A 15 year old was the victim of a gang rape outside her high school’s homecoming dance.

  • The ordeal lasted 2 ½ hours.

  • At least 20 passers-by failed to call police.

  • Other witnesses watched, laughed, and took pictures.

  • People in a crowd who see others doing nothing do nothing themselves.

  • Bystanders fail to act based on:

    • social proof

    • Deindividuation

  • Increasing private awareness can overcome the bystander effect.

  • Identifying individuals can overcome the bystander effect.

    • “You, in the red sweater, call 911!”

    • “Mam, I need your help. Go pull the fire alarm.”