Social Psychology (PSY403)
A few topics relevant to previous chapter will be described first, and then Social Influence will be
Childhood attachment styles and adult romantic relationships
· Until the mid 1980, all research on attachment styles focused on children and adolescents' social
relationships. The secure and insecure attachment styles were researched by Ainsworth and other
· Hazan and Shaver, both social psychologists, were Interested in whether attachment styles might
affect adult romantic relationships
In 1987, Cindy Hazan and Philip Shaver developed self-report measures of attachment styles
They inserted their attachment measures into a "love quiz", and asked newspaper readers about
their current romantic relationships.
Securely attached adults reported more positive relationships with their parents than those with
insecure attachment styles.
Cultural differences: Individualistic cultures placed great importance on love in marriage
compared to collectivistic countries like India, Pakistan, Thailand, and Philippines (Levine et al.,
Passion is the hot point of love
indicating intense feeling, arousal,
physical attraction, satisfying other
drives and needs
Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love
Intimacy is the warm point of love
characterized by close, connected,
bonded feelings, helping, being happy
understanding, sharing, and supporting
Commitment is the cool point of love. It
is deliberate choice about loving
someone, maintaining long term commitment and short time decisions about being in love.
Companionate love is characterized by self disclosure, closeness, and concern after living long
with each other. When our lives are intertwined with someone, feelings such as affection,
tenderness, sharing, and attachment become a hallmark of relationship.
Attachment styles & Friendship
As children grow up, they form emotional ties not only with family but they also form friendships with
their peers. Friendship is different from family relations, which are largely nonvoluntary. As compared
to those, relationships based on friendships are voluntary.
Two different levels of friendship
· Superficial friendships are formed and maintained because they are rewarding, and are based on
the principle of exchange
Social Psychology (PSY403)
Developed friendships in contrast are based not only on rewards but also on friends' mutual
concern for each other's welfare
Disclosure is the revealing of personal information about oneself to other people. One of the prime
avenues for creating developed friendships is through self-disclosure. People not availing this type
of communication will have dysfunctional relationships and loneliness (Stokes, 1987)
Social penetration theory (Altman and Taylor, 1973)
· The development of a relationship is associated with communication moving gradually from a
discussion of superficial topics to more intimate exchanges
Cultural differences: North Americans tend to disclose more about themselves in a wider variety
of social settings than people from collectivistic cultures (Chen, 1995)
Gender differences: In a meta analysis of 205 studies, Kathryn Dindia and Mike Allen (1992)
found that women self-disclose more than men
PART III: EVALUATING PERSONS AND RELATIONSHIPS
Close Relationships was the last chapter of section III, i.e., "Evaluating persons and relationships".
That section comprised on five following chapters: Attitudes, Attitude change, Prejudice and
Discrimination, Interpersonal Attraction, and Close Relationships. Apparently, these all topics seem
different; however they all are about the evaluation of other people.
PART IV: SOCIAL INTERACTIONS
The fourth section of syllabus on Social Psychology is concerned with different forms of social
interactions that people would have with each other. This section consists on five chapters namely,
Social Influence, Aggression, Prosocial Behavior, Group Behavior, and Interpersonal Power. In the
following, a brief description about each chapter is provided:
· Social influence is concerned with how one person's behavior influences another person's
Aggression is the negative side of social interaction. Psychologists want to know how to overcome
aggression. They are also interested in knowing that why people assault, rape, and kill each other.
Prosocial Behavior: Social psychologists are interested to know that what makes people help each
other and what goes wrong when people fail to help victims in emergency situations
Group interaction: Psychologists are also interested to know that how individuals behave
differently when they are in groups, and also that whether groups perform better or worse than
Interpersonal. Power: is the dark side of social interaction. Social psychologists desire to know that
why ordinary human beings sometime follow immoral orders to engage in torture, ethnic cleansing,
This chapter introduces conformity, compliance, and obedience as forms of social influence.
Conformity is described as changing one's behavior to be consistent with group standards. The chapter
reviews the classic studies of Sherif and Asch. The meaning and incidence of conformity is contrasted
across individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Informational influence and normative influence are
discussed as the two major motivators of conformity. The conditions under which people are likely to
conform or resist conforming (commitment to a group, cohesiveness, group size, unanimity, and
minority influence) are presented. The application of social psychological knowledge on conformity to
Social Psychology (PSY403)
health campaigns is highlighted. Compliance is defined as responding to a request from another
individual or group. Research on the role of mood and compliance is presented. More specific
compliance techniques, such as foot-in-the-door, door-in-the-face, low-ball, "that's-not-all," and the
pique technique are compared. Obedience is defined as complying with the request of a legitimate
authority. The Eichmann defense is given as an example of extreme deference to authority and sets the
stage for a discussion of the effects and crimes of obedience. Milgram's experiments are presented, and
the factors that enhance or reduce obedience are discussed. Finally, the ethical considerations
surrounding obedience research are noted.
· Social influence can be practiced by religious and political leaders, etc. This chapter will discuss
the social psychology of influence in its various forms.
Social influence is `the exercise of social power by a person or group to change the attitudes or
behavior of others in a particular direction'.
Examples: After the following two events, pressure and influence of entire Muslim community
forced those, who were responsible for these events, to apologize.
o Cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in Denmark, November 2005
o Pope Benedict XVI's remarks for Prophet Mohammad in 2006;
Behavioral consequences of social influence
Conformity is `a yielding to perceived group pressure by copying the behavior and beliefs of others'.
It indicates to what degree you conform to others' social influence in dress, food and music
preferences, etc. We can be influenced by our family, friends, teachers, and authority figures.
Independence is a state different from conformity and it indicates that you are not controlled by others.
However, when you do not conform, may be you are acting independently or conforming to another
Compliance: Publicly acting in accord with a direct request, e.g., standing and singing national anthem
in public ceremonies. Although privately we agree or disagree with the behavior we are engaging in,
we nevertheless indulge in that behavior to comply.
Obedience is `the performance of an action in response to a direct order". Obedience is taught from
childhood to respect and obey authority figures (e.g., by parents, police, and teachers), more so in
traditional Asian cultures. Actually, compliance implies loss of personal freedom which is valued very
much in individualistic cultures. People usually prefer to comply with a request rather than being
Classic & contemporary conformity research
· Norm development (Muzafir Sherif, 1935)
· Solomon Asch's work on group pressure
· Stanley Schachter's work on how people react to nonconformists
Norm development (Muzafir Sherif, 1935)
Sherif was Turkish-born. His research was partly spurred by his disagreement with individualistic
cultures which maintain that a group is merely a collection of individuals and no new group qualities
arise when individuals form into a collective entity. He contended that a group was more than sum of
its individuals' nongroup thinking. He studied how social norms develop into a group. In the following,
his experiments are illustrated:
· `Visual perception experiment'
· How far does the dot move?
Social Psychology (PSY403)
100 judgments - but movement was an optical illusion - the `autokinetic effect'
Participants' judgments regressed towards a consistent range of light movement (although the
actual magnitude of estimated movement varied across participants)
· Public announcement of estimates; "not free-for-all bickering of light movement experts"
· This lead to a convergence of all participants' responses away from initially disparate estimates to a
· This common group standard is known as a "social norm"
· Participants denied that other's judgments affected their own
· Uncertainty increased the rate at which convergence on the social norm develops
· In uncertain situations other's judgments are a valuable heuristic (or rule of thumb) that can help us
be as accurate as possible
The following graph illustrates these
results more clearly:
Norm Development (Sherif, 1935)
· Franzoi, S. (2003). Social Psychology.
Boston: McGraw-Hill. Chapter 9.
· Lord, C.G. (1997). Social Psychology.
Company. Chapter 8.
· David G. Myers, D. G. (2002). Social
Psychology (7th ed.). New York:
Successive trials with other group members
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