Friday, 2 February 2018

What You See Is What You Get?

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It's impossible to live among other people and not be influenced by them in some way. Sometimes, others attempts to change our thoughts or behaviour are obvious, such as a policeman telling you to pull over as you drive down the street. However, on other occasions social influence is less direct. Sometimes the mere presence of others can influence our behaviour by inhibiting or enhancing it. But what is conformity? Crutchfield (1955) defined it as: ''yielding to group


pressure''. While Zimbardo & Leippe (1991) said: ''conformity is a change in belief or behaviour in response to real or imagined group pressure when there is no direct request to comply with the group nor any reason to justify the behaviour change''. 

Group pressure is the common denominator in definitions of conformity. 

Jenness (1932) is often cited as the first experimental study of conformity. Jenness asked individual students to estimate the number of beans in a bottle, and then had them discuss it to arrive at a group estimate. When they were asked individually to make a second estimate, there was a distinct shift towards the group's estimate. 

Moscovici et al. used groups of six participants, of whom four were naive and two were stooges. The stooges played the role of the minority. Before the experiment began, participants' colour vision was tested. They all passed. This meant that the naive participants couldn't eplain the stooges' wrong answers by claiming they were colour-blind. All participants gave their answers out loud. The stooges sat either in the first and second position, or first and fourth. On 36 separate trials, slides that were clearly blue but which differed in brightness. The stooges called it green every time. This yielded a 'green' response rate of over 8 per cent among the naive participants.        

How do others influence your gambling?