Research on social influence

Following the English riots of summer 2011 the subject of ASP has received great attention from politicians ND the media in recent years. Our ability to understand anti-social behavior stems from research on social influence which looks at how our behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes are shaped by those around us. The works of Amalgam (1963), Cash (1951 and Zanzibar (1973) for example provide great insight into how anti-social behavior can come about as a result of social influence factors such as groups, or authoritative figures who are persistent on imposing their ideas and beliefs onto others.

This essay will focus on how research on social influence has enhanced our understanding of anti-social behavior. It will also look at the aspects of social influence such as how the media may result in what is widely identified and acknowledged as anti-social behavior. Social influence has carried out research on human behavior, and from this we are able to understand how when people come together as a group may contribute to the development of ASP. Groups are identified as a set of people who influence the behavior of those around them (Stanton & Rogers, 2003, cited in Spotlighting, n. Up. 1-21) identified the three types of groups. According to their explanation, incidental groups refer to members ho are committed to each other for only a short period of time, secondly, membership groups are committed to each other because they are members, and lastly, identity reference groups are members who identify with the norms and values of the social group, and by doing so they are able to form their own social identity from being a part of the group when they are unable to identify with the other groups in society.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Today’s society is made up of a different number of groups. People are grouped depending on their socio- economic status. However this may result in a breakdown in society, for example the summer riots of 2011 was a result of frustration and anomie from groups of young adults from a low socio-economic background who felt alienated. And, according to Augment (2011, cited in Andrew Millie, 2011 this uproar is the result of a combination of consumerism and rising inequality in society.

These groups of young adults have been unable to share in the privileges of society and therefore, have been able to able to identify themselves with others who are less privileged, and feel that politicians and the police are not providing them with opportunities, but are instead Argentina them and preventing them from moving up the social ladder. And as a result of this, some young people may engage in anti social behaviors in order to get attention.

Research shows that in order for any group to be successful, members must conform to the norms and values of the group. Therefore, it can be understood that in order for these groups of youths to carry out their act of looting and vandalism which was recognized as ASP, they had to conform to the majority influence. Social influence studies looking into conformity allows us to better understand the different ways in which people conform to a roof.

Outsiders seeking membership to a group can either conform to the behaviors of a group I. E. Vandalizing public properties whilst maintaining their personal views privately, this is known as compliance. They could also adopt the views of a group publicly and privately because they Want to be members of the group, this is known as identification and is usually ever only temporary, and lastly, outsiders seeking membership convert their own private views to match the views of the group, this is known as internationalist.

Researchers like Cash (1951) have carried out research into conformity in ropes. He investigated if people in a group would conform to giving a particular answer on a test even when they know that the answer they are conforming to is wrong. Findings from the experiment showed that over the 12 trials 32% of the participants of the real participants, not confederates, conformed to the answer given by the majority. Conclusions from the study showed that there may be a strong group pressure to conform in ambiguous situations.

Through interviews conducted by Cash, he found out that firstly, participants conformed to the majority because they did not want to be ejected, this is known as normative social influence, and lastly, Cash found that a large number of participants conformed due to informational social influence because they thought that the answers given by the majority could not be wrong. This experiment is useful in helping us understand antisocial behaviors. The riots of summer 2011 consisted of group members who already share similar beliefs that they were being treated unfairly by the government, and a similar low socio-economic background.

And even though some of them may not have wanted to engage in the looting process, seeing he majority do so might have made them conform out of fear of being rejected or because they believed that the action Of the majority is the right thing to do and therefore conformed and engaged in ASP. Gangs are a type of group. They are identified as a group of people who rely on each other for support in their engagement in conflict and violence (Adducer, 2013). Amalgam’s study of obedience in 1963 has developed our understanding of human behavior and this also can be applied to our understanding of ASP.

Obedience is defined by Gadwall 2000, cited in Spotlighting, n. D Up. -21) as the result of social influence whereby a person’s actions is the result of a direct order from an authority figure. However this can often be destructive and a number of explanations have been put forward to explain the psychological factors that make people obey. The Foot in the Door Effect explains that once people commit a request they can find it difficult to withdraw or refuse, and this can lead to them carrying out more serious request in the future.

Another factor that explains why people obey is buffers, which refers to something that prevents you from seeing the consequences of your actions. Also, people may engage in ASP either because the meaning of what they are being asked to do is altered or because of contractual obligation where people engaging in ASP feel like they are obliged to continue in order to their part and failure to do as they are told would result in them evaluating thrillers, and they may begin to see themselves as being weak (From Spotlighting, n. D Up. ;21 The media is another social factor that may contribute to the anti-social behavior of young people. The media’s portrayal of young people as hooligans and troublesome causes fear and public concern (Cohen 1972, tied in Ross Adducer et al. , 2013). This results in a reaction from young people whose reaction to the media is seen as anti social behavior. The public does not see that their reaction is fuelled by their need to rebel against the accusations of the media which has caused members of society and the government to view them like so.

In Amalgam’s original study in 1963, he investigated if people would obey an unjust order from an authority figure and what factors would lead us to obey. The experiment consisted of genuine participants who played the role of the ‘teacher’, and the accomplice played he role of the ‘learner’ whose task was to memories matching pairs of words and press lights that correspond to the correct answer. The teacher’s task was to administer an electric shock whenever the learner who was strapped to a chair gave the wrong answer.

During the experiment, the experimenter prompted the participant to continue by using phrases like please continue or you have no other choice, you have to go on. Findings from the experiment showed that all of the participants administered at least 350 volts and 65% administered the full 450 volts of electric shock. From this Amalgam concluded that firstly, under certain circumstances people are likely to obey orders that are against our conscience, and secondly we are most likely to do so when the people carrying out the orders are of a low position of authority.

They follow orders because they have lost feelings of sympathy and compassion for another human. This experiment enhances our understanding of ASP and this can be applied to gangs and the anti social behaviors they exhibit. It appears that authority figures need not be people like the police, but rather the head or leader of a nag. Outsiders wishing to become members of a gang may be willing to carry out instructions given by those above them because they want a place to belong in a society that marginal’s them.

These orders may be acts that fall under ASP such as abusive verbal behavior towards members of the public, drug and alcohol misuse and handling of stolen property. Amalgam proposed the gigantic shift theory as an explanation for the two levels that people operate on. This can be used to better understand why people engage in ASP. He argued that people shift backward and forward between an autonomous state where we behave voluntarily, and see ourselves as responsible for our actions, and an gigantic state where we see ourselves as agents of authority carrying out the instructions of another person and not being responsible for our actions.

Sombrero’s experiment on how easily people would conform to the roles they were given in a prison simulation can be used to understand ASP. In prisons everyone has a role that they play, there are prisoners and guards who are people of authority and give orders to prisoners who readily carry out their orders in order to fit in and because they have no choice. Despite resisting to conform to their roles at first, participants playing the role of the prisoner became obedient to the guards six days into the experiment, but this was only after the guards had begun to behave brutally towards the prisoners.

Sombrero’s explanation for this is that the participants behaviors was situational as it was caused by the prison environment. From this experiment, Zanzibar concluded that people will conform to the social roles they are expected to play even when these roles may be stereotypes. These findings can be applied to the anti-social behaviors of gangs. Gangs are somewhat similar to prisons, there are different levels and members have different roles.

There are the leaders, old gang members and new recruits who are more than ready to do as they say. Within a gang, members may switch to auto pilot where they do not give themselves time to think about the situation and the consequences for fear of being rejected or not liked as was the case in Sash’s experiment. In gangs, members may abandon their personal beliefs in order to fit in, the adopt the role of a gang member and carry out orders given by people of authority which may fall under ASP.

People may also engage in ASP because they feel marginal’s, and seek out support wherever they can, whether that is in a gang where they are made to feel like they belong especially when carrying out orders which may fall under ASP with other members who may provide them with company and entertainment or simply by themselves because they want to get some attention. The studies explored in this essay explains that in order for people to engage in ASP for example, they must conform to the majority influence and as Amalgam proposed, be come agents for people of authority and carry UT orders given without feeling responsible for our actions.

Research on social influence has broadened our understanding of human behavior. Therefore, we can conclude from the studies mentioned in the essay that a person’s personality does not cause them to engage in activities (from Spotlighting, n. D Up. 1-21) frowned down on by society for example verbal abuse towards member of the public that is recognized as ASP. However, factors like the environment such as a poverty stricken deteriorating cities (Barrington 1996, cited in Findings, 1996), in which some young people grow up in might influence their decision to engage in ASP due o a lack of stimulating activities.

Another factor that may lead people to engage in ASP is the media. It continuously and publicly sabotages young people’s image by portraying them as unemployed, troublesome hooligans, and a threat to society. Authority figures who try to get people to obey by not giving them a choice as seen in Amalgam’s experiment is also another factor that may influence people’s decisions to engage in ASP. Depending on the situation they may go into auto pilot whereby they abandon their beliefs and carry out orders given by authority figures which may be seen as ASP.