Chapter 12 Summary - Chapter 12 Summary: Social psychology...

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Chapter 12 Summary: Social psychology is the scientific study of how a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings are influenced by the real, imagined, or implied presence of others. Social psychology can be broadly divided into the areas of social influence, social cognition, and social interaction. Social influence is the process in which the presence of other people influences the behavior, feelings, and thoughts of an individual. Conformity involves changing one’s own behavior to more closely match the actions of others. In 1951 Solomon Asch conducted a classic experiment on conformity by having subjects judge the length of a line after hearing a group of confederates all report an obviously incorrect answer. Asch found that the subjects conformed to the group answer around one-third of the time and that conformity increased as the group size increased, up to a group of four confederates. In a later study, Asch found that conformity greatly decreased when at least one confederate gave the right answer. Groupthink is a type of conformity in which people feel it is more important to maintain the group’s cohesiveness than to consider the facts more realistically. Social influence can also be used to describe the phenomenon of compliance , which occurs when people change their behavior as a result of another person or the group asking or directing them to change. Consumer psychology is an area of psychology that studies how people get other people to buy things. There are a number of techniques that people use to obtain the compliance of others including the foot-in-the-door technique , in which compliance with a small request is followed by a larger request, and the door-in-the-face technique , which is the process of making a large request which is almost always refused and then a smaller request that is often agreed to. The door-in-the-face technique relies on the norm of reciprocity , which states that if someone does something to you, you should do something in return. Two additional compliance techniques include the lowball technique in which the cost of the commitment is increased after the commitment is already made and the that’s-not-all technique in which an offer is made and before the individual can make a decision, something “extra” is added to the offer. In compliance, an individual changes his or her behavior because someone asks him or her; in obedience , an individual changes his or her behavior because an authority figure gives him or her an order. Stanley Milgram conducted one of the most famous experiments on obedience in which he measured the number of volts a participant would administer to another participant simply because the experimenter instructed him or her to do so. In reality, no electrical shocks were being administered. Milgram found that about two-thirds of the subjects (65 percent) administered electrical shocks up to a lethal level of 450 volts when instructed to do so. The
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2009 for the course PSYCH 101 taught by Professor Nahad during the Fall '07 term at Ivy Tech Community College.

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Chapter 12 Summary - Chapter 12 Summary: Social psychology...

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