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How Do Other People Influence Other Behaviour, Discuss With Reference To Social Psychological Research And Theories.

1683 words - 7 pages

The public may influence others behaviour though social influence in two different ways. The first is normative influence this idea is “an influence to conform to the positive expectations of others” (Cohen 1964). This is indicated by Asch where the participant’s task was to compare the length of the lines by matching the standard line with three comparisons, one of which was clearly obvious as the correct answer. This idea is known as an unambiguous task because the task is distinct on what the precise answer is. Asch found when the majority of the confederate said the wrong answer the minority who is the participant gave the wrong answer too, knowing it wasn’t correct (Asch 1956). This ...view middle of the document...

For example when Asch did his study in America conformity was the social norm. This might have had an enormous impact on the finding and why numerous participants conformed to the group. Later research done by Perrin and Spenser they carried out the exact experiment on British engineering, maths and chemistry students. They found that out of 396 trials only in one of the trials a participant conformed to the majority that were wrong (McLeod 2008). This is clear evidence showing the poor reliability of Asch study and it shows how in contemporary civilisation people may be less influential by others.
Individuals may influence our behaviour by persuasive communication this displays how a person’s attitude may change by external messages in addition influence their behaviour. Research from Hovland and Weiss in 1952 shows how experts are more persuasive than non-experts. As they found the same arguments were seen to be more persuasive when delivered by someone who seems to know all the facts (Hogg & Vaugham 2011). This implicating when people are told information by an authority figure that may be perceived as an expert they are more likely to trust the information and this can lead to them modifying their attitudes and behaviour. For example a teacher may tell a child that they are not very academically cleaver leading them to believe this leading them to change their attitudes and behaviour for instance not completing assignments or coming to school, as they believe they aren’t able to achieve so there is no point this is also identified as self-fulfilling prophecy.
However Cohen established that it wasn’t down to persuasive communication, but an individual’s self-esteem. He found that people who have low self-esteem were more susceptible of being influenced by others than those who had a high self-esteem (Cohen 1964). Persuasive communication may not influence another’s behaviour as they may have high self-esteem, meaning they will be harder to persuade. This suggests that there are countless factors of how people can influence others behaviour because there isn’t a distinctive explanation.
Persuasiveness could somewhat explain why obedience influences other people’s behaviour. Obedience is when a person sees themselves carrying out another person’s wishes. Therefore they don’t see themselves as responsible for the actions (Milgram 1974). Subsequently a person may be persuaded by an authority figure that’s considered as knowledgeable to do certain actions which they may disagree with. Research to support this claim is by Stanley Milgram as in his experiment he got a naïve participant to play a teacher to administering electric shocks from a shock generator, which ranged from slight shock to severe shock to the learner (Milgram 1963) when they got the learning task wrong. When the participant didn’t want to continue the experimenter would respond with a sequence of prods like “please continue”, “please go on” or “the experiment...

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