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How Do Other People Influence Our Behavior? Essay

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How do other people influence our behaviour? The public may influence our behaviour though social influence in two different ways, the first is normative influence which is “an influence to conform to the positive expectations of others” (Cohen 1964). This is shown 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 the correct answer this is known as an unambiguous task. Asch found that when the majority of the confederate said the wrong answer the minority who was the participant also gave the wrong answer knowing it wasn’t correct (Asch 1956) this shows how they changed their answer to fit in with the group even when they knew the answer they was giving was incorrect. This can be applied to behaviours being influenced by others as people may go along with the group and behave the same way they do even if it’s seen to be frowned upon just to fit in.
The second is informative influence this is “an influence to accept information contributed by others as evidence of reality” (Cohen 1964). This is supported by Sherif’s Autokinetic effect where participants had to estimate how far a static dot of light in a dark room have moved, this is an example of an ambiguous task. Sherif found the results varied when alone although when they were in groups the participants conformed and there results were similar to the group (Sherif 1937) this shows how people are influenced especially if they don’t know what the right answer is this can be applied to behaviour in the sense that people go along with the crowds behaviour when they don’t know the correct way to behave. Both these studies show how other people can influence another’...

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...mental Social Psychology. 8 (1), pp.438-445
Aronson, E. (1988). The social animal (5th ed.). New York: Freeman. pp 45
Retrieved 4th April 2014
David Morgan (2007). Bystander Pulls Off Daring Subway Rescue. [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 04/04/2014]
Kendra Cherry (2014). What Is Conformity. [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 04/04/2014
Asch, S.E, (1956). Studies of Independence and Conformity: I . A Minority of One Against a Unanimous Majority. Psychological Monographs. 70 (9), pp.1-70
Sherif, M, (1937). An Experimental Approach to the Study of Attitudes. Sociometry. 1 (1/2), pp.90-98
Saul McLeod (2008). Asch Experiment. [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 04/04/2014]

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