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Social Influence Essay

  • Submitted by: yuiyui1515
  • on July 11, 2012
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 793 words

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Below is an essay on "Social Influence" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Explain what is meant by social influence

Social influence is the term given to the way in which an individual’s behaviour, attitudes or beliefs are changed in some way due to the presence or actions of other people. It refers to the effect one person or a group of people has on another person or group of people. Since early history humans have attempted to define and refine the principles of successful influence. The science of social influence, however, can trace its roots to the Second World War, when a social psychologist named Carl Hovland was contracted by the US Armed Forces to bolster morale. Since then social influence has become a field of study devoted to discovering the principles that determine our beliefs, create attitudes, and move us to action.

Two forms of social influence are conformity (majority influence) and minority influence. Conformity is where a larger group of people change the behaviour (but not necessarily the attitudes and beliefs) of an individual or smaller group while minority influence is where a small group or an individual change the behaviour and usually the beliefs of an individual. The difference is both in the size of the ‘group’ causing the influence and the type of change it creates in the individual (compliance or conversion). 
As stated above majority influence is when adapt the behaviour, attitudes or values of the majority after being exposed to their values or behaviour. They publicly yield to group pressure. This is also known as compliance. In cases they yield privately and this is called internalization. The majority are able to influence because of other peoples desire to be accept or their desire to be accepted or their desire to be right.
Minority influence normally involves a shift in private opinion. The minority must be consistent and flexible to succeed
Social scientists attempt to support any assertion with facts. They use observation and experiment to determine how and why people are persuaded by...

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