• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent Are We All 'Victims' Of Social Influence?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent Are We All 'Victims' Of Social Influence? Social influence is the science of influence, persuasion and compliance and is employed by an 'agent' or 'practitioner' upon a 'target'. The tactic used or the message given is the agent's 'advocacy'. We have the ability to be either agents or targets at any given time or in any situation. The moment we interact with another person or group of people we almost always affect one another's behaviour. Therefore one might describe the definition of social influence as the changes in a person's behaviour, attitude or belief, induced by the presence or actions of others. Inducing a change in behaviour is called 'compliance'. Inducing a change in attitude is called persuasion. Inducing a change in belief is called either education or propaganda, depending on your stand point. Being knowledgeable in the ways of social influence can help to move someone to adopt a different attitude, belief or action. Being aware of social influence can help us resist the influence attempts of others. However, most people are unaware of these influences because the social influence processes can be subtle and indirect i.e. ...read more.

Middle

They identified that when a number of people are performing an action, an individual will put less effort into it than if acting alone. In today's high tech society, never has the power of persuasion been so strong. There are people who make a living out of influencing us. From the moment we wake we are bombarded with numerous direct attempts to control our behaviour and thoughts through adverting, the media and personal interaction. From the breakfast serial we eat, to the car we drive to work in. From the clothes we wear, to the religion we follow. From the time we arrive at work, to the time we leave. Virtually every move we make has been influenced in some way because our desire to conform makes us volunerable to social influence. Conformity is a change in thoughts, feelings or behaviour to bring them in line with the social norm. Social norm is the widely accepted ideas or rules about how people should behave or what they should believe. Levin and Gaeth (1988) studied how consumers were affected by the framing of attribute information before and after consuming the product. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although the 'teachers' were clearly disturbed by what they were doing, hardly any of them refused to obey. This nastier side of social influence can be seen throughout history. An example of which was the Vietnam War when American soldiers routinely and unquestioningly, murdered unarmed men, women and children because they were 'under orders' to do so. It seems then that we are all 'victims' of social influence from the moment we wake to the moment we sleep. Influencing others is part of the experience of being human. Is George Orwell's visionary novel '1984' becoming a reality? Is there any part of our lives that is not controlled to some extent? Are we all trapped by our own personal 'Room 101' i.e the fear (real or imagined) of what will happen to us if we do not conform? On a more positive note, social influence makes society work smoothly. Successful persuasion makes physical force unnecessary and therefore benefits society as a whole. As society benefits from persuasion, those who know how to persuade, in turn benefit from society. We are all 'victims' of social influence in virtually everything we do or believe in and we are also capable of inflencing others. Agent or target? Vulture or victim? Either way influence is ubiquitous in everyday life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Social influence, its concepts and ethics

    famous electric shock experiment and also Zimbardo's Prison Study Milgrams study was about obedience to authority unlike many other studies done in the same context this one differs, in this one the people were given an order or instructions to carry out they were then expected to carry out.

  2. Pro and Anti Social Behaviour

    has been reported by Nadler (1986, 1993). He compared people in Israel brought up communally (on a kibbutz community dedicated to interdependent living) with those raised in a city. He found the Kibbutz were more likely to help and seek help in comparison to people in the city.

  1. To what extent do Social and Media factors influence Criminal Behaviour?

    This new, wider range of influences is continually being studied to find the effect that it can have on people. There are many social factors that affect how a person develops. Social learning theory suggests that much of what we learn is done by imitation and modelling others behaviour.

  2. The experiment conducted tested the theory of conformity under the influence of group pressure.

    There is no need to change opinions. Thus, dissonance is a factor only when there is inconsistency between a person's beliefs and a behaviour for which the person feels personally responsible. If someone does not feel responsible for a conforming action, there is no internal conflict. Sherif, Asch and Milgram conducted three of the main classic group

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work