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Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience: 

Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience

Slide2: 

Close your eyes and think about anything that you want. Keep them closed until I ask you to open them.

Conformity: 

Conformity the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, and/or behaviors in ways that are consistent with social norms

Conformity: 

Conformity don’t stand too close to people don’t talk to other people in an elevator do say “Please” and “Thank you”

Conformity: 

Conformity two basic types of conformity public conformity private conformity

Conformity: 

Conformity autokinetic effect observed light alone observed light in a group asked to estimate again in private (Sherif, 1936)

Conformity: 

Conformity autokinetic effect final estimate closer to group’s estimate than the original in ambiguous situations, people tend to be suggestible private conformity (Sherif, 1936)

Conformity: 

Conformity epidemic psychogenic illness (EPI) illustrates two things: group norms can be subtle, yet very powerful ambiguity = more susceptibility to conformity

Conformity: 

Conformity conformity in unambiguous situations groups of 8 confederates erred on 12 of 18 judgments 37% conformed (only 1% error rate in private) public conformity (Asch 1951, 1956)

Conformity: 

Conformity subsequent studies group size influences conformity ally dissenter decreases conformity by 80% (Asch 1951, 1956)

Conformity: 

Conformity two reasons for conformity normative social influence (public conformity) want to “fit in”; don’t want to be deviant e.g., teenagers, REP sign-up sheet

Conformity: 

Conformity two reasons for conformity informational social influence (private conformity) ambiguous situation, we look to others e.g., new bus route

Conformity: 

Conformity extra credit opportunity choose a social norm and violate it write-up due next Monday (3/28) describe how you violated a social norm How did others respond to your norm violation? How did the norm violation make you feel? nothing illegal do not implicate me or my family

Compliance: 

Compliance changes in behavior that are elicited by direct requests

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence tap into our automatic processes compliance professionals use this processing to their advantage (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence reciprocation: repay in kind what another person has given us powerful and pervasive (cross-culturally) (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence reciprocation study of “art appreciation”; done in pairs IV: likable/not likable and Coke/no Coke DV: # of raffle tickets (Regan, 1971)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence reciprocation Coke condition bought more raffle tickets liking did not matter (Regan, 1971)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence reciprocation door-in-the-face technique: real request is prefaced by one so large that it is rejected; real request seen as a concession

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence reciprocation “County Youth Counseling Program” supervising 2 hours at the zoo -- 17% agreed 2 hrs/wk for 2 years as a counselor -- 0 agreed then the same zoo request -- 50% agreed (Cialdini et al., 1975)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency: taps our strong desire to be consistent over time “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblins of little minds.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency foot-in-the-door technique: real request is preceded by first getting compliance with a much smaller request

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency questions about household products 3 days later asked to allow an inventory of their household products (Freedman & Fraser, 1966)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency initially answered questions -- 53% agreed not asked questions -- 22% agreed (Freedman & Fraser, 1966)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency California homeowners asked to display a 3-inch square sign that read “Be a Safe Driver” 2 weeks later: display a PSA billboard in the front lawn that read “Drive Carefully” (Freedman & Fraser, 1966)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency only asked to display billboard -- 17% complied asked first and second request -- 76% complied (Freedman & Fraser, 1966)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency low-balling: secure agreement with a request, but then increase the size of the request by revealing hidden costs e.g., used car salesman

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence commitment and consistency low-balling Why does it work?

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence social proof: the situation may be fabricated to influence you to act in a certain way (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence social proof works best in ambiguous situations e.g., door-to-door salesman, bartenders, Three-Card Monty

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence liking: people are more persuasive the more we like them and the more similar they are to us (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence liking physical attractiveness what-is-beautiful-is-good stereotype

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence liking physical attractiveness similarity

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence liking physical attractiveness similarity complementary people

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence The Tupperware Party one starts every 2.7 seconds $2.5 million/day -- almost $1 billion/year (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence The Tupperware Party reciprocity prizes and grab bags (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence The Tupperware Party reciprocity commitment and consistency talk about the usefulness of Tupperware products (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence The Tupperware Party reciprocity commitment and consistency social proof order forms passed around (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence The Tupperware Party reciprocity commitment and consistency social proof liking house of a friend or acquaintance (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence authority: we tend to have an automatic response to authorities (i.e., a heuristic) (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence authority effect of people’s clothing on others willingness to comply “You see that guy over there by the meter? He’s over-parked and doesn’t have any change. Give him a dime!” plain clothing or security guard

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence authority exploited in advertising “4 out of 5 dentists recommend…” “9 out of 10 doctors prefer…”

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence scarcity: arouses a threat to our personal autonomy to control and make decisions (Cialdini, 2000)

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence scarcity Dade County, Florida -- ban on cleaning products containing phosphates “soap caravans”; 20-year supplies phosphate detergents: rated more gentle, more powerful on stains, more easily pourable

Weapons of Social Influence: 

Weapons of Social Influence scarcity banned books or movies Beanie Babies/Cabbage Patch Kids Home Shopping Network

Obedience: 

Obedience an act in response to a request from authority

Obedience: 

Obedience Milgram studies Pay attention to the factors that affect the influence of the authority figure and the obedience of the participants.

Obedience: 

Obedience Milgram studies social class, education, nor gender has a significant effect on participants’ obedience the effects lie in the situation

Obedience: 

Obedience Milgram studies requirement of informed consent development of Institutional Review Boards debate about the use of deception in psychology

Conclusion: 

Conclusion conformity occurs in response to social norms social norms are pervasive and powerful compliance occurs in response to a direct request obedience occurs in response to an authority figure

Next Time: 

Next Time How do social psychologists’ understand stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination?