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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 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