Normative Influence Essay

1252 Words6 Pages
Normative influence refers to individuals conforming to a certain behaviour lead through examples set by others. It generally involves humans behaving in specific ways to gain approval from a specific person or group, necessarily the individual usually does not even realise they are doing it. Normative social influence is an important area for research in social psychology and for the purposes of this essay I will discuss the power that it has on behaviour, providing research from two areas of social psychology. Within the social hierarchy and the daunting-ness of social pressure, the concern about the impressions we make have a big impact on our behaviour. This often influences the choices we decide upon and the things we do and say whilst…show more content…
We tend to conform to these examples due to information and pragmatics. If you see others deciding on a certain answer in a test, you are more likely to also go for that option if the information you already acquire is limited. If other people tell you rhubarb leaves are poisonous, then to be safe, in the absence of better information we should not eat them (7th edition. Gray, Bjorklund). Within each stem of social life lies the great power of sharing information. Humans use this advantage to avoid having to make additional mistakes in life. This type of normative social influence is referred to as informational influence. Another reason we may conform to these behaviours, is to feel socially accepted by a group and to encourage the togetherness of a group. There is a fundamental human need in society to feel worthy of belonging somewhere, usually within a group setting. Within these social groups, the pressure to conform is often very high and usually stems from a social interaction or from the social norms that the group or an individual from the group believes. Therefore, an individual will adjust their own beliefs and behaviours in order to align themselves with the thinking of a particular group. This is often to feel accepted or to feel that sense of closeness within the group. Asche (1951) was the first social psychologist to demonstrate conformity and…show more content…
The aim of this study was to find out how far an individual would go when under strict orders and how the experience would affect them. The experiment was made up of 40 male participants who were then allocated into groups. The allocating process made sure the confederates of the researcher were given the roles of the teachers and the actual participant was the “learner”. The learners were strapped into a chair and electrodes were taped to their wrist. The teacher was under order to read off the questions on a verbal memory test and to shock the learners for every question they answer wrong. As the experiment progresses onwards the shocks for the learners get stronger as the number of questions answered wrong increases. However, what the subject did not know was that the learners were also confederates of the experimenter and that in actual fact no harm was caused to those in the electric chairs. The teachers were showing signs of struggle as each shock was administered and pleaded with the man in charge to end the experiment but were then verbally forced to continue. The findings of this study demonstrated that two thirds of the teachers used the maximum volt shock and the all of the volunteers took part right up until a significant point. The results display that when under order from another individual in an unethical situation that conformity will become more
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