Chapter 9 Assignment Project

Chapter 9 Assignment Project

Chapter 9 Assignment Project

For this chapter, instead of a survey, there is an assignment.

Indicate which of the examples on the bottom of the page match with the influence principles listed. There are two examples that match with each principle. Write the corresponding letters next to each principle.  (no need to include the entire text, just the letters)


Match these influence techniques with the examples below (2 for each)

1. Foot-in-the-door

  1. Door-in-the-face
  2. Scarcity
  3. Reciprocity
  4. Low-balling
  5. That’s-not-all-technique
  6. If you give someone a favor, they tend to feel indebted to you. They want to pay you back somehow.
  7. A professor asks students to help move boxes of books from the office building to the library. After the students agree, the professor reveals that the students must arrive on campus at 7:30 A.M. to help.
  8. “Can you wear a button about the importance of recycling?” Once the person agrees, you ask “would you be willing to volunteer at the local recycling center?”
  9. If you purchase $50 in makeup, you will receive a full-sized mascara for free.
  10. If you mow your neighbor’s lawn while he’s on vacation, maybe he’ll watch your pets while you’re visiting family at Thanksgiving.
  11. Offer products or services at a bargain price in order to first attract a buyer, but then inform them about additional expenses that make the purchase less of a bargain than originally thought
  12. People fill out a form and provide an email address, a name, a phone number, or other information. This can then lead them to greater commitment later on.
  13. You tell interested car buyers that you only have five left of the newest sedan.
  14. Tell people at the restaurant that the kitchen will close in 20 minutes and this is the last call for orders.
  15. Can you please give me $100? No? Okay, how about $50?
  16. A boss asks an employee whether she can attend all Saturday meetings this month. Once she says no, he asks whether she can at least attend one Saturday this month?
  17. If you buy this mop, you will also get a mop cleaner.


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    Chapter 9

    Social Influence: Norms, Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience

    žNote: This chapter will make you see the world very differently. You will start to appreciate the influence that people and situations have on you as a person. Some of it may be difficult to believe or accept, but remain open-minded and you will learn a LOT. Chapter 9 Assignment Project

    Having said that, it’s a very long chapter with a lot of terms and videos. Please pace yourself as needed.

    Outline of the Chapter:


    · –Informational Social Influence

    · –Normative Social Influence

    · Asch’s study of conformity

    · What factors increase conformity?


    · What are compliance techniques?


    · Milgram’s study of Obedience

    · Factors that increase obedience

    Bystander Effect

    · informational social influence

    · diffusion of responsibility


    Conformity : A change in one’s behavior due to the real or imagined influence of other people. Going along with the group.

    There are so many conformity videos online (maybe you’ve seen the elevator conformity videos). Here’s another one.

    Link (Links to an external site.) 形状, 箭头  描述已自动生成

    Informational Social Influence:  We conform because we need direction and information, especially in uncertain situations

    e.g., I remember my first time at a sushi restaurant, I was observing others to see whether to cut a piece of sushi or eat it whole?

    e.g., Did the scream you just heard in the hallway come from a person joking with friends or from the victim of a mugging?

    e.g., How should you address your psychology professor—as “Dr. Berman,” “Professor Berman,” “Ms. Berman,” or “Patricia”?

    We conform because we believe that others’ interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more correct than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action. In some situations, we feel uncertain about what to think or how to act. We simply don’t know enough to make a good or accurate choice. Luckily, we have a powerful and useful source of knowledge available to us—the behavior of other people. Asking others what they think or watching what they do helps us reach a definition of the situation. When we subsequently act like everyone else, we are conforming, but not because we are weak, spineless individuals with no self-reliance. Instead, the influence of other people leads us to conform because we see them as a source of information to guide our behavior.

    When Will People Conform to Informational Social Influence?

    · When the situation is ambiguous.When you are unsure of the correct response, the appropriate behavior, or the right idea, you will be most open to influence from others.

    · When the situation is a crisis. Need to act immediately.

    · When other people are experts.   e.g., a passenger who sees smoke coming out of an airplane engine will probably check the flight attendants’ reaction rather than their seatmates   e.g., you will ask a police officer for directions

    Normative Social Influence:  We conform so that we will be liked and accepted by other people.

    We are following social norms: the implicit or explicit rules a group has for the acceptable behaviors, values, and beliefs of its members.

    e.g., raising your hand before asking a question in your psychology lecture

    e.g., following a clothing trend

    e.g., if everyone at work is pitching in $40 for the boss’ gift, you will too

    The pressure to conform to social norms is often very powerful, in part because people who deviate from the norm often experience negative consequences such as embarrassment, awkwardness, and even hostile behavior from others. Because of the unpleasant consequences of deviating from the norm, we are motivated to learn and adhere to the norms of our group. Conformity for normative reasons occurs in situations where we do what other people are doing not because we are using them as a source of information but because we don’t want to attract attention, be made fun of, get into trouble, or be rejected. We human beings are by nature a social species. Other people are extraordinarily important to our sense of well-being. Chapter 9 Assignment Project

    Solomon Asch’s line judgment studies

    Participants were asked to indicate which line -1, 2, or 3- matches the length of the standard line. In each session, only one person was a real participant and the others were all confederates (actors) who gave wrong answers on purpose. The objective of the study was to see what proportion of the participants would conform, even on something as clear (and not ambiguous) as line length.

    actors in Asch study unanimously giving wrong answer

    Results: Contrary to what Asch expected, a considerable amount of conformity occurred. When confederates gave obviously wrong answers (1 or 3), 76% of participants conformed on at least one trial.

    One line on the left and three lines of varying length on the right

    Link (Links to an external site.) 形状, 箭头  描述已自动生成

    Take Home Messages:

    · —We do not want to risk social disapproval—even from complete strangers! It is not as if the participants were in danger of being ostracized by a group that was important to them. Nor was there any risk of open punishment or disapproval for failing to conform or of losing the esteem of people they really cared about, such as friends and family members.

    · —normative pressures usually result in public compliance without private acceptance—people go along with the group even if they do not believe in what they are doing or think it is wrong.

    The Asch studies are “one of the most dramatic illustrations of conformity, of blindly going along with the group, even when the individual realizes that by doing so he turns his back on reality and truth” (Mascovici, 1985, p. 349). Chapter 9 Assignment Project

    What factors increase conformity?

    1.One is made to feel incompetent or insecure.

    2.The group has at least three people.

    3.The group is unanimous.

    4.One admires the group’s status and attractiveness.

    5.The group observes one’s behavior.


    Cultural Differences

    · Collectivist cultures conform more than individualistic cultures

    Gender Differences

    · Women conform slightly more than men


    How can we resist normative social influence (especially when we do not support what the group is believing, saying, or doing)? For example, people at work may want to come to a decision on something that you don’t agree with; or something may be going on at a party that you think is unethical but everyone is seemingly going along with it; or a racist/sexist joke is being told that is offensive to you. You do not need to go along with these situations- you can resist them by:

    1.Be aware that it is operating.

    2.Take action. Try to find an ally to support your view to break the unanimity.


    Compliance : changes in behavior that are elicited by direct requests.

    Below are a list of several techniques of influence that one can use (ethically or unethically is another issue) to obtain compliance. Robert Cialdini discusses all of these and more in a book- Influence.

    Cover of the book Influence by Robert Cialdini

    1.  Norm of Reciprocity: the pressure to reciprocate someone else’s behavior.

    · If someone does something nice for us, we tend to do something nice for them.

    · e.g., if you agree with someone on an initial topic, that person is more likely to agree with you later on a different topic.

    · Link (Links to an external site.)

    2.  Foot-in-the-door a two-step technique for inducing compliance in which an influencer first makes a small request, than makes a second, larger request.

    · People want to appear consistent, so they will comply with the larger request

    · In one study, participants were asked to write a one- or two-sentence message about homelessness on a petition that was supposedly going to their senator (Burger & Caldwell, 2003). Two days later, another experimenter called to ask them to donate two hours of time that weekend helping with a food drive. Thirty-two percent of those who are only asked this larger request agree to help with the food drive, compared to fifty-one percent of those who are first asked to sign the petition. Chapter 9 Assignment Project

    · People use this technique to sell you stuff. They will ask for 30 seconds of your time to apply a lotion on your hand or buff your shoe and if you comply, you are more likely to give them more time, and eventually buy the product that they are selling.

    · Cults use foot-in-the-door technique by starting out with small requests and gradually escalating to much greater ones, including unimaginable ones like giving up your family.

    · Link (Links to an external site.)

     3. The That’s-Not-All Technique: The influencer begins with an inflated request and then decreases its apparent size by offering discounts or bonuses.

    · Infomercials use this technique. If you call in the next ten minutes you will receive not one, but TWO products.

    · In one study, Burger (1986) set up a booth at a college fair to sell cupcakes. Some people who approached the table were told that the cupcakes cost $.75. Others were told that they cost $1, but then the price was quickly reduced to $.75. Seventy-five percent of the people who got the “reduced price” bought the cupcakes, compared to 44 percent of those who got the (same) regular price.

    4. The Door-in-the-Face Technique: You first make a big request, and then make a smaller request. The second request seems pretty reasonable, in comparison to the first request.

    · a teen may use this: “Mom, can I have $50?” “No? Ok, how about $20?”

    · In one study on the power of the door-in-the-face technique, Cialdini and his colleagues asked a group of college students to serve as a chaperon for a group of juvenile delinquents during a day trip to the zoo (Cialdini et al., 1975). Only 17 percent agreed. Another group of students was first asked to serve as counselors to juvenile delinquents for two hours a week for two years, an even larger commitment—once again, they all refused. However, these students were then asked to help with the day trip to the zoo. This time, 50 percent agreed.

    5. Low-balling: a two-step technique in which the influencer secures compliance with a request but then the nature of that request by revealing hidden costs.

    · Is commonly used by car dealers.You make a deal with them that you’re happy with (a discount, nice features of the car you’ll be getting, etc.); then they go talk with their “manager” and say “I’m so sorry, that discount cannot be applied due to ___ reason,” but most people are still willing to go forward with the purchase.

    · The low-ball technique works because once someone has agreed to a request, they feel committed to follow through, even when the nature of that request changes. People apparently feel some obligation to the person with whom they have initially negotiated, and thus tend to honor that agreement.

    · In one study, researchers asked students to participate in a psychology study that would begin at 7 a.m. (Cialdini et al., 1978). Only 31 percent agreed. However, they asked other students just to participate in a psychology study (nearly all agreed). After the students had agreed, the researchers informed them that the study would begin at 7 a.m. In this condition 56 percent of the students agreed to participate. Chapter 9 Assignment Project

    · If I ask you to pick up my child from school you may say yes. Then if I add “oh, and would you please pick up food for him on the way and take him to grandma’s, who lives further away?” You may still say yes!

    6. Scarcity: limiting people’s opportunity to act, either in terms of time or number. Many compliance techniques in the real-world rely on creating the illusion (often false) of a strict deadline by which you need to act. The perceived scarcity of an object leads people to act more quickly or to pay more because of their concern that the desired object will soon be unavailable.

    · “Deadline” technique (“you must call in the next 5 minutes…time is running out”)

    · “Hard to get” technique (“there are only a few left of this product, be sure to get yours now”)


    Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Study

    Stanley Milgram was inspired by Nazi Germany. He wanted to understand What makes people do “evil” things? Were the Nazis evil racists?

    So he set out to test one of the factors that he believed played a role, that is obedience to authority (which would have been Hitler in Nazi Germany).

    Obedience: following direct commands, usually from an authority figure

    When the volunteers – a mix of laborers, middle-class individuals and professionals – showed up, told they would by studying the effect of punishment on learning (cover story). The learner had to memorize word pairs (e.g., “wild/duck”), and the teacher would administer increasing shock if the learner got them wrong.

    The roles were rigged to where the “teacher” was always the real participant and the “learner” was an actor – a heavyset, pleasant looking middle-aged man who supposedly had heart problems. Chapter 9 Assignment Project

    the accomplice getting strapped into electricity generator

    Must watch footage from the original study. Be sure to understand who is the “teacher,” the “learner,” and the experimenter.

    Link (Links to an external site.) 形状, 箭头  描述已自动生成

    Result? 65% of “teachers” continued to obey, delivering highest level of shock (450 volts) to the “learner!”

    Six major factors affecting obedience:

    · legitimacy of the authority figure

    · he was from Yale, tall, white lab coat

    · teachers followed the “obey authority figure” norm

    · physical closeness of the authority figure

    · the closer the experimenter was standing to the teacher, the more the teacher obeyed.

    · not seeing the victim

    · because the learner was in the other room, they were more willing to shock him. In another variation of the study, the learner was right next to the teacher and obedience was lower. (What are the implications of this? we care less about the harm we inflict on people we do not see or know.)

    · not feeling responsible

    · assuring “teachers” that the experimenter was responsible for the “learner’s” well-being–> the responsibility was shed from the teacher and placed onto the experimenter

    · justifying it as “okay” behavior

    · “this is a research study- I guess it’s okay”

    · the foot-in-the-door phenomenon

    · shock levels increased in small increments

    The essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and he therefore no longer regards himself as responsible for his actions.” (Milgram, p. xii).


    Bystander Effect: People are less likely to help when others are present

    Watch the following video on the Bystander Effect. You are responsible for the studies described in the video as well as Kitty Genovese case (the young woman who was fatally stabbed in the 1960s with many witnesses that heard her loud screams).

    Link (Links to an external site.) 形状, 箭头  描述已自动生成

    The two explanations for why the bystander effect occurs are:

    Pluralistic ignoranceEveryone in a group misleads everyone else by defining the situation as a non-emergency. This happens in ambiguous situations when you don’t know what happened or what help is needed.

    · Could be due to informational social influence

    · for example, if you see someone on the floor and everyone is just walking by, you may figure “well, I guess there is no emergency”

    Diffusion of responsibilityresponsibility is shared by multiple bystanders. The more people there are, the less each person feels responsible.

    Take home message: Don’t rely on other people’s assessments of a situation (they are simultaneously relying on yours and it could be the blind leading the blind). Rely on your instincts, your conscience, and your ethics. Also, do not assume that someone else will help because that’s what they’re thinking YOU’LL do!