Conformity_complia - Psychology 280 Conformity and compliance Conformity defined as a change in one’s behavior or beliefs in response to some

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Unformatted text preview: Psychology 280, 3/6/08 Conformity and compliance Conformity: defined as a change in one’s behavior or beliefs in response to some real (or imagined) pressure from others. In most contexts studied so far, this pressure is not an explicit request that the target conform. Your text does an excellent job (p. 216—30). Major early contributions: Sherif’s study of the autokinetic effect; usually interpreted in terms of informational social influence (people confOrm believing that others have valid information about the situation). Solomon Asch’s famous line—judging experiment. Asch himself was shocked by the amount of conformity he witnessed. Here the social influence is not at all informational, but rather normative: people comply to honor the expectations of others and to avoid the pains (dislike, exclusion) of deviance. Note that in both of these situations, the person is viewed as conscious of the dilemma s/he faces (to go along with the others or assert independence) and as somehow coming to a decision by processing relevant social information. Without disputing any of this, interesting recent work related to conformity has explored its ubiquity as a social strategy and its automaticity—that is, how it can unfold with no conscious appreciation of the forces operating on the individual. We focus on this work here. Today’s reading: subjects “primed” with conformity (via a “scrambled sentence” task) were more likely to agree with confederates about how interesting the experiment was. This is of a piece with John Bargh’s demonstration, in a hugely influential paper that led the social psychological community to be seriously interested in automatic influences on behavior, that people primed (also with a scrambled sentence task) with the concept of the elderly actually walk more slowly than controls. Bargh’s take on this automatic, unconscious effect of the conceptual prime: there exists an automatic link between perception and behavior, such that “merely perceiving the behavior of others activates tendencies to behave in the same way.” Priming with the elderly activates “elderly” behavioral tendencies, including slowness of motion, which activation automatically influences the behavior of the person so primed. My interpretation: priming the “elderly” in this way “works” like an expectation of interacting with elderly persons; and we make an automatic accommodation to facilitate such interaction (“slow down”). Recent work (by Cesario et al.) on how implicit attitudes toward the elderly and youth predict how walking speeds are affected by “elderly” and “youth” primes is highly supportive of this idea that priming “works” by creating an implicit expectation of interaction. A similar automatic accommodation to being primed with a category is subtly to modify one’s attitudes so as to “conform” to (be more similar to) a typical member of that group (even if one would not want to change one’s attitudes in that direction): Kawakami’s demonstration with the categories of the elderly (conservative attitudes) and “skinheads” (racist attitudes). Note that this effect occurs even if the priming stimuli themselves are presented completely out of awareness. The most recent work in this domain has focused on “mimicry,” beginning with Chartrand & Bargh’s demonstration of a “chameleon effect” (we do in fact mimic others’ postures and movements). We do so sometimes more than at others—for instance, when we have an affiliation goal (either consciously or unconsciously); or after an experience of social exclusion (which activates the “need to belong”). So mimicry seems to be involved in (OVER) affiliation and successful interaction. Evidence suggests that mimickers are in fact better liked (and that interaction with a mimicker seems to go more smoothly), they evoke prosocial tendencies in those they mimic, they get larger tips (if they’re waiters), and they are more persuasive, even in a “virtual” domain where the subject “knows” that s/he is interacting with a computerized image, not a “real” person. Mimicry thus seems involved in a very Wide range of interactional processes and outcomes. Compliance: defined as agreement with an explicit request to engage in some behavior of benefit to the requester. Compliance rates can be increased by several (obvious) social psychological techniques: via power (see “obedience); via persuasion (good arguments for one’s request), via conformity (make it seem that everybody’s doing it), and via liking (hard to refuse somebody you like). Today we focus on two effective, nonobvious techniques that rely on two very different psychological processes. 1. Norm of reciprocity (Gouldner): in all societies at all times it has been considered rigm (normative) that people should benefit those who benefit them. Exchange theory stresses the degree to which many of our social relationships involve the exchange of rewards and costs, with a strong concern that the exchange be equitable. (Bad words for violators.) A. Reciprocating a favor: coca-cola and compliance. D. Regan study: students given a coke by a confederate were much more likely to comply with his request to purchase raffle tickets; note that compliance when returning a favor was unrelated to liking for the favor—doer. But generally (Burger), liking for the requester does increase compliance (no surprise there). B. Reciprocal concessions technique: subtle use of the norm. Cialdini shows that first asking for a large amount of compliance, then (when that is refused) dropping the request to a more moderate level, elevates compliance because the moderate request is seen as a "concession" and must then be reciprocated. Analysis of political contributions, "free" samples. How can you resist this compliance technique? It‘s not easy. CONDITION EXPERIMENT: I g ; Rejection—Moderation 50 56 54 Exposure Control 25 Two Requester Control 10 Equivalent Requests 33 Smaller Request Only 17 32 33 2. Self-perception theory and the "foot-in-the-door" effect. Freedman and Fraser show that we are more likely to comply with a sizeable request (big "drive safely" sign on the lawn) after agreeing with a smaller request, presumably because the-earlier compliance changes our self—perception with regard to agreeing with such requests. Note contrasts with Cialdini procedure above: footain-door technique has two different requesters, and the smaller request comes first. 3. If time: which technique is more effective? ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course PSYCH 2800 taught by Professor Gilovich,t/regan,d during the Spring '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Conformity_complia - Psychology 280 Conformity and compliance Conformity defined as a change in one’s behavior or beliefs in response to some

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