Some of the topics covered in the section on 

 Conformity, Compliance,
& Obedience   


Back to weekly information

Social norms
How do people react to norm violations?
How does it feel to violate norms?
1. Norms are whidespread (e.g., behaviors, fashion, values); different norms exist for different groups
2. Norms affect us through normative social influence (need for acceptance)
3. Norms affect us through informational social influence (need for accuracy)

*note: reality checks limits what can become norms. E.g., Eskimos are not going to have a norm of vegetarianism or favor short skimpy dresses for females.

When do people conform to Normative Social Influence?
1. Social Impact Theory
Strength: How important the people in the group are to you. The more you value their friendship, love, respect, the stronger the normative pressures to conform.
Immediacy: How close the group is to you in space and time
Number: How many people? 3 or more = max influence power.
2. Unanimity of group
(remember the "ally" in Asch's line judgment experiment?)
3. Is conformity a cultural norm?
Independent self vs interdependent self
4. Personality and Gender
Self esteem: inconsistent results
Gender: (small Difference)
1. Women are more conforming in public situations because females are socialized to be more agreeable and supportive.
2. People are more conforming on unfamiliar issues. Since most experiments were designed by male researchers, they tend to use traditionally male dominated topics (e.g., sports), and therefore women comformed more because they were unfamilar with the issues. New experiments that use traditionally female topics (e.g., childcare) shows males are more conforming.

Summary from Emotions lecture

Facial Feedback Theory
Putting on a facial expression TRIGGERS (causes) the subjective experience of emotion.
Possible mechanism: (1) use of different face muscles affect blook flow to different parts of brain
(2) Proprioreceptors in brain keep track of what muscles are used, and thus trigger the emotion related to the use of the particular set of muscles.
(Demo: pen in teeth, pen in lips)
Two Factor Theory of Emotion
Our subjective experience of emotion is formed by 2 factors:
1. Physiological arousal: The first factor that is essential for emotion. e.g., heartbeat, sweating. This arousal is "neutral"--the same symptoms can be caused by many different sources (exercise, anger, excitement, attraction)
2. Cognitive factor: EXPLANATION: you need to attribute the arousal to some source.
Experiment on 2 factor theory
Dutton & Aron (1974)
Reasoning: if emotion is composed of arousal and attribution of the arousal to a particular source, then people may misattribute the arousal to a wrong (but salient) source.
A male participant who is physiologically aroused will misattribute the arousal to attraction felt for the female experimenter
Conceptual IV: level of arousal
Operational IV: On bridge (high) or after relaxing (low)
Conceptual DV: degree of misattribution (attraction)
Operational DV: # who phone experimenter
30% of "rest" group called, 65% of "bridge" group called.
Experiment on 2 factor theory: Schachter & Singer (see coursepack link)
Modern view of emotion
Emotion is NOT "caused" by facial expression or labelling or unexplained arousal.
Cognitive Appraisal approach

Eliciting event ===> Appraisal ====> Emotional response (3 component)

3 components of emotional response
1. Physiological activation (e.g, heartracing)
2. Subjective experience (e.g., a positive or negative emotional feeling)
3. Facial expression
Emotion can be "jumpstarted" by manipulating people's physiological actiavation or facial expression, but that is not the noraml way emotions are experience.


Evoluationary View of Emotion
Emotions are adaptive (functional) because particular situation/need/threat triggers specific emotion responses (Core relational theme), and the triggerd emotion guides people to behave in a way that best solve the problem/situation that triggered the emotion in the first place (action tendencies)
Core relational themes
"themes" that comp up often in people's relations with the world (i.e., with other people, situations, objects)
Each theme maps on to a specific emotion (e.g., Theme=danger --> Fear; Theme=personal loss --> sadness)
Action tendencies
Each emotion leads to a TENDENCY (not actual behavior, only tendency) to behave in a certain way (e.g., Emotion=fear --> action=escape; Emotion=anger --> action=fight)

Put togehter, you can see how emotions allow people to act quickly in response to any situations:

Core-relational Them = Danger ----> Emotion = fear -------> action = escape



"Review quiz":  
1.a) Define “conformity”, “compliance”, and “obedience”. What are the differences between them? 

b) Describe a relevant example for each.

2.Define informational social influence. Then, identify:
a) the situations where this type of conformity is likely to occur (hint: 3 )
b) why it occurs (the motive for conformity)
c) what happens to the person’s private belief after the conformity.
d) the experiment(s) that illustrated this type of conformity.

3.Define normative social influence. Then, identify:
a) the situations where this type of conformity is likely to occur (hint: social impact theory, and others)
b) why it occurs (the motive for conformity)
c) what happens to the person’s private belief after the conformity.
d) the experiment(s) that illustrated this type of conformity.

4. What is the difference between private and public acceptance? When are they elicited?

5. What are the two dramatic forms of informational social influence? Describe each, point out when each tend of occur, and give an example. (hint: both start with C)

6. In 1945, many people in Mattoon, Il claimed that they have been attacked by an “anesthetist” that would go to their homes and spray them with anesthetics. In reality, there were no such person and all of the attacks were imagined. Which social psychological principle(s) is(are) applicable in explaining this phenomenon? 

7. Research has found that group size is an important factor in social influence. Discuss the following issues:
a) In normative influence, how does group size affect the degree of conformity? 
b) According tot eh Social Impact Theory, what characteristics of the group can increase conformity?
c) What happens when it is the minority of the group that is trying to influence the majority? Which type of social influence (normative/informational) does it involve? What does it take for a minority to be influenctial?

8. Ellen Langer did an experiment where secretaries were sent either a signed (signed “sincerely, John Smith”) or an unsigned memo that said, “This paper is to be returned immediately to Room 238 through interoffice mail”. Room 238 was the sender’s office on the same floor. What were their finding? And what is the main point of this experiment?

9a. What is the door in the face technique? Why does it work? Describe an example.
9b. What is the foot in the door technique? Why does it work? Describe an example.
9c. Which one of the above techniques for eliciting compliance lasts longer?

10. A few specific questions about the design of Milgram’s study:
a) What were the participants asked to do (cover story)?
b) What happens when they express that they want to stop?
c) Before the experiment, what results did people predict?
d) What are the actual results (general…. Not actual %)

11. What was the role of normative influence in Milgram’s study (original design)? What did they find when they added confederates to the study?

12. What was the role of infomational social influence in Milgram’s study? What did they do in 2 modifications of the experiment to investigate the role of informational social influence? What were the results?

13. What additional factors made people obey the experimenter even when they were asked to administer extreme shocks? 


Last updated Oct 28 1999