Social Influence Essay

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Social Influence Social influence is the process by which an individual’s attitudes, beliefs or behaviours are modified by the presence or actions of others. Conformity and obedience are two of the more recognised areas of social influence. Conformity is a change in a person’s behaviour or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or group of people. Most people conform to social norms these are rules indicating how individuals are expected to behave in specific situations. The main psychologist of conformity is Solomon Asch. Obedience is a change in somebody’s opinions, judgements or actions because someone in the position of authority has told them to. Although you have changed in some way does not now mean that you agree with the change. The main psychologist of obedience is Stanley Milgram. Solomon Asch carried out a series of experiments during the 1950s, these were to demonstrate the power of conformity in groups. In Asch’s experiments a group of students were told they were participating in a vision test, but they did not know the subject. There were a second group of participants who were all confederates (assistants) of the experimenter. In the beginning the confederates were all asked a group of questions that they all answered correctly, but as the experiment continued they all started to provide incorrect answers. The results of the experiment show that almost 75 percent of the students agreed with the wrong answer that the confederates had given at least one time. After processing the results from all of the trials, they indicated that the students conformed to the incorrect group at least one-third of the time. Asch got these results as he had asked all the students to write their answers down on paper. The students had in fact correctly answered the questions 98 percent of the time, but then provided incorrect answers when asked

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