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HOW DO UNINTENTIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCES CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOUR?

  • Social influence occurs when our attitudes or behaviours are affected by another person or group. This influence is rooted in social roles and social norms.

  • We expect people within certain social roles to act according to our expectations for those roles. Social norms might vary from culture to culture and group to group, and provide guidance for how we are expected to behave in a particular place or group. Descriptive norms describe how people typically behave, while injunctive norms define what is acceptable behaviour.

WHAT IS CONFORMITY, AND HOW DOES IT INFLUENCE BEHAVIOUR?

  • Through changing our behaviours to stay in line with social roles and social norms, we engage in conformity. Conformity can be public, which occurs when one feels pressure to follow a group, or private, which occurs when one comes to truly believe that the group is right.

  • There are many reasons for conforming, including when we need to decide what to do in an ambiguous situation, or when we want to be accepted by the group. Conformity is affected by group size as well as demographic variables.

HOW DO OTHERS INTENTIONALLY INFLUENCE OUR BEHAVIOUR?

  • Compliance is based on six basic principles, upon which different compliance techniques are built. These techniques are used to influence someone through a direct request. Often, all that is needed for compliance is the appearance of a reason.

HOW DO AUTHORITY FIGURES GET US TO OBEY THEM?

  • The findings of Stanley Milgram's infamous 1963 study still hold true today—people seem to be willing to follow the orders of an authority figure, even if it means hurting someone else. The effect has been made even greater with the invention of various reality television shows.

  • While there are certainly positive aspects to authority and obedience, there are many dangers associated with the kind of blind obedience seen in Milgram's study. Levels of obedience can be changed by changing the authority level of the person giving orders or by changing proximity.