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Lec 9- social influence - Social Influence Notes made from...

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Social Influence Notes made from chapter 7 (p245 onwards) of main course text Types of social influence Social psychology can be defined as ‘an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others’ ( ALLPORT, 1968 ). This widely accepted and commonly quoted definition of social psychology identifies a potential problem for the study of SOCIAL INFLUENCE- process whereby attitudes and behaviour are influences by the real or implied presence of other people. How does the study of social influence differ from the study of social psychology as a whole? There is no clear answer; instead, social influence research can be circumscribed by the sorts of issue addressed by social psychologists investigating social influence. Social life is full of people trying to change the thoughts or behaviours of others, to agree with theirs. Social life is also characterised by NORMS- attitudinal and behavioural uniformities that define group membership and differentiate between groups. One of these interesting issues in social influence is how people construct norms, how they conform to or are regulated by those norms, and how these norms change. Compliance, obedience and conformity. Everyone sometimes comply with the requests of a group or agree with them, even though privately we do not feel that way at all. However, we may be genuinely persuaded and change our beliefs from the influence of others. Social psychologists to distinguish this use the terms COERCIVE COMPLIANCE (or NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE ) and PERSUASIVE INFLUENCE (or INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE ). COMPLIANCE- superficial, public and transitory change in behaviour and expressed attitudes in response to requests, coercion or group pressure. CONFORMITY- deep-seated and private change in behaviour and attitudes due to group pressure. MOSCOVICI (1976)- an important prerequisite for coercive compulsion and compliance is that the source of social influence is perceived by the target of influence to have power. ALLEN (1965)- due to the subjectivity of private thoughts, it can be very hard if not impossible to determine whether the compliant behaviour actually reflect genuine internalisation or not. People’s strategic control over behaviour for self-presentation and communication purposes can accentuate this difficulty.
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In contrast to compliance other forms of social influence produce private acceptance and internalisation. MOSCOVICI (1976)- there is subjective acceptance and conversion which produces true internal change that persist in the absence of surveillance. FESTINGER (1950)- conformity is not based on power but rather on the subjective validity of social norms, that is, a feeling of confidence and certainty that the beliefs and actions described by the norm are correct, appropriate, valid and socially desirable.
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