Posted: February 25th, 2022

This chapter deals with one of the most classic areas of social psychology

Influencing & Conforming (Chapter 6)

This chapter deals with one of the most classic areas of social psychology, that of Social Influence. This refers to the efforts by people to change attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors of other people. Some classic topics within this area include:

· Conformity

· Obedience

· Power

· Leadership

Do note that some of these studies have several criticisms aimed against the methodology, procedures and conclusions. It is important to note that replications are necessary and no simplistic conclusions can be drawn from any one study. For purposes of this class, note that these are “classics” in the field of social psychology so know the basic methodology and the specific findings; in general, they serve to highlight the importance of external or situational factors on our behavior.

Social Influence & Conformity

· Spontaneous, adaptive, imitation

· Informational social influence (accuracy, social comparison and private acceptance)

· Normative social influence (to be liked, social norms and public compliance)

· Majority influence (Sherif’s “autokinetic” study and Asch’s “line” study)

· Minority influence – don’t need to know in detail

· Situational determinants – group size/social impact; unanimity (don’t worry about importance of task)

Obedience, Power, & Leadership

· Milgram’s original obedience study – what are some important situational factors from variations (there are some personality factors as well – don’t need to know for this section)

· Zimbardo’s prison study

· Types of power (just know basic)

· Types of leaders (just know basic)

· Don’t worry about leadership and person-situation interaction

Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity (consider some of the important concepts and findings for each one)

What is psychological reactance? (it helps to think of some examples)

Well, that’s it for one of the most powerful topics within social psychology. In this chapter, you have just covered some classic concepts within the field and been exposed to some classic studies in all of psychology. Hope you enjoyed it.

We move on next to considering what attracts us to others in a chapter covering “Liking and Loving.”

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