Unit 29-Applied Phychological Perspectives in Health and Social Care P5 and M3

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Unit 29: P5 and M3

P5: Explain the contribution of psychological perspectives to the promotion of good practice in residential care services

Conformity to majority influence


Conformity to majority influence is basically means changing your behaviour temporarily in order to fit in with the rest of the group. This does not mean that you’re changing your beliefs or views, but you would not express it because you are afraid to be the only one who is disagreeing with the rest of the group.

A psychologist called Solomon Asch has done an experiment in order to test out the majority influence. He has also used confederates, as did Moscovici, in his experiment, but he used only one real participant.

In the experiment all the participants were seated in a room and they could clearly see a vertical line which was called the target line. Then they were shown three comparison line called A, B and C, and they were asked to pick the line that has the same length as the target line out loud.

In the experiment these two cards have been shown to the participants in total, of 18 times and the confederates have been asked to say out the wrong answer 12 times. Asch has found out the real participant have also given the wrong answer like the confederates.

After the experiments the participants were interviewed and many of them knew the others were wrong and they were right. However, they felt uncomfortable to speak out about their judgement.

(M, 2010, p. 324) and (Boundless, ND)

The positive and negative effects of this type of influence on care staff’s attitude change, for example, if the majority of the staff members at the residential care home is following the right manual handling procedures and the minority staff member is doing the wrong procedure. Then this can have a positive effect as the minority staff member will change their ways and follow the majority of the staff members.

However, if it is the other way around, then it can have negative effects on the residents of the residential home. This is because if the majority of the staff members are not following the correct procedures and doing it wrong when manual handling and the minority person knows the right procedures but cannot express their opinion to the majority of the staff members due to being afraid of being the only one who disagrees with their ways and conforming to the majority.

Conformity to minority influence

Conformity to minority influence is basically about when the majority believes that the minority people have more information and knowledge than the majority. The minority is able to change the behaviour of the majority.

(M, 2010, p. 323)

A psychologist called Serge Moscovici did an experiment in 1969 and the aim of the experiment was to find out the effects of a consistent minority on the majority. Moscovici arranged a group of 6 people to participate in the experiment and 2 of the people were confederates and the four people were real participants.

The six people have been asked to look at 36 slides that have different shades of blue and were asked to state the colour of each slide out loud to the group.

There were two parts in the experiment and in the first part of the experiment the two confederates have answered green for each of the 36 slides. This shows that the two confederates were consistent with their answers.

In the second part of the experiment the confederates was not consistent with their answers as they have said green 24 times and blue 12 times. When the confederates were consistent with their answers 8.42% of the answers were green from the real participants, whereas when the confederates were inconsistent only 1.25% of answered green of the real participants.

(McLeod, Moscovici et al. (1969) Blue-Green Study, 2007)

Moscovici has found out from the experiment that the minority who was consistent with their answers had an influence on the majority. The minority does not always have an influence on the majority it only happens when the minority acts in a certain ways such as being consistent with their behaviour.

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The real life example of conformity to minority influence happened in the early 20th century with the Suffragette movement, where a group of women fighting for the right of women voting in the election.

Minority influence in residential care settings could be a new staff member who has just started working in the care home and have different views than the majority of the staff members who have worked for a long period of time.

The new staff member knows the latest new legislation on health and safety at work act and equality, diversity and rights. For example, ...

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