Social psychology | Social Influence | Example of social influence | Types of Social Influence | Principles of social influence | Normative social influence | informative social influence | IAS TARGET IAS Target

Social Psychology

Social psychology pertains to the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence. As per this definition, scientific refers to the empirical investigation using the scientific method. The phrases, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors indicate psychological variables that can be measured in human beings.
The statement that others' appearance may be imagined or implied suggests that humans are malleable to social influences even when alone, such as watching videos, sitting on the toilet, or quietly acknowledging art. In such circumstances, people can be influenced to follow internalized cultural norms. Social psychologists typically explain human behavior due to the interplay of mental states & social situations.
Social psychologists examine elements that cause behaviors to unfold in a given way in the presence of others. The study conditions under which particular behavior, actions, emotions, and feelings occur. Social psychology is associated with the feelings, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, intentions, and purposes that are cognitively established and how these mental representations, consequently, influence our exchange with others. Social psychology customarily bridged the differences between psychology & sociology. During the Cold War interval immediately after World War II, there was repeated cooperation between psychologists and sociologists. The two disciplines, nevertheless, have become increasingly specialized and isolated from each other lately, with sociologists directing on "macro variables" (e.g., social structure) to a much greater extent than psychologists. Nevertheless, sociological approaches remain an essential counterpart to psychological research in this area.

Social Influence

Social influence is an all-embracing term given to describe the persuasive repercussions people have on each other. It is seen as a foundational value in social psychology and overlaps considerably with research on attitudes and persuasion. Social influence is also closely connected to the study of group dynamics, as most principles of influence are strongest when they take place in social groups.

The three main areas of social influence include:

  • conformity,
  • compliance,
  • obedience
  • The first important area of social influence is conformity. Conformity refers to the propensity to act or think like other members of a group. The recognition of members within a group, i.e., status, similarity, expertise, cohesion, prior commitment, and accountability to the group, help to discover the level of conformity of an individual human being. Individual differences among group members play an important role in the dynamic of how willing people will be to conform. Conformity is usually considered a negative tendency in American culture. Nonetheless, a certain amount of conformity is adjustable in some situations, as is nonconformity in other situations.
  • The second important area of social influence research is compliance and adherence. Compliance pertains to any change in behavior that is due to a request or suggestion from another human being. The foot-in-the-door method is a compliance method in which the persuader seeks a small favor and later follows up by expecting a larger favor, e.g., asking for the time and then asking for ten or more dollars. A related ploy is a bait and switch.
  • The third important form of social influence is obedience; this is an exchange in behavior that is the outcome of a direct order or instruction from another person. Obedience as a form of compliance and obedience was dramatically highlighted by the Milgram study, wherein people are ready to administer surprise to a person in suffering on a researcher's command.
An abnormal kind of social influence is the self-fulfilling prophecy and forecasting. It is a prediction that, in being made, literally causes itself to become true. For instance, in the stock exchange, if it is broadly believed that a crash is forthcoming, investors and businesses may no longer have confidence, sell most of their stock, and thus actually cause the crash. Likewise, people may anticipate hostility in others and actually induce this hostility through their own behavior.
Psychologists have spent a long time studying the potential of social influence and the way in which it manipulates people's beliefs, opinions, and behavior. Categorically, social influence refers to the way in which individuals change their ideas and actions to meet the demands of a social group received authority, social role, or a minority within a group wielding influence over the majority. Never mind if you are a student, teacher, doctor, lawyer, or entrepreneur, you will encounter some type of the social influence.
Types of Social Influence
There is Two psychological needs that lead humans to conform to the expectations of others. These include:
  • our need to be right (informational social influence)
  • our need to be liked (normative social influence).
Informational Influence (II) or social proof refers to an influence to accept information and knowledge from another as affirmation about reality. Informational influence comes into the picture when people are uncertain, either because stimuli are intrinsically ambiguous or because there is social disagreement. Normative influence is an influence to conform to the positive expectations of others. As per Kelman's typology, normative influence leads to public compliance, whereas informational influence leads to private acceptance.


Principles of Social Influence

  • Reciprocity
    One of the most basic principles of influence is to simply give that which you want to receive. In other words, doing right by others is a good way to get others to do the same for you. This idea of reciprocity is a powerful one.
    Ex: If you smile some one then other also respond you with return smile
  • Consistency
  • The concept of consistency is based on the power of active, public & voluntary commitments, which results in people actually clinging to their word. Letís walk by way of these requirements in a little more detail. The 1st part is an active commitment. By active methods, something that is written or articulated to other people. Having people say they will do something to start, nevertheless, when they actively commit to it, they are much more probably to follow through. The following steps to making it public. When others witness this commitment, it adds a level of accountability to the statement. And nobody wants to go back on their word. Finally, it has to be voluntary. If you compel someone to make an active, public commitment that they didnít decide on themselves, you have accomplished nothing. Hence how do you use this? Once you have persuaded somebody to do something, get them to make these types of commitments to implement the concept of consistency and ensure there is a legitimate commitment to their words.
  • Social Proof
    Generally, people like those who like them or who they consider friends. It is a simple but powerful idea. The essence of liking can be used in a few discrete ways. One technique is finding common ground with the people you meet. If you can connect with them about their hobbies or interests, you will have a solid ground to build from. Being watchful of people is a great way to pick up on any clues that may lead you to such common ground. The other approach is genuine praise. Paying compliments and being charming can go a long way to building a positive rapport with others. A word of censure or warning, though, donít go overboard. The key point here is genuine praise, donít manufacture it to the point that youíre clearly trying to butter them up.
  • Liking
    People like those who like them or who they perceive as friends. Itís a simple, yet powerful idea. The principle of liking can be used in a few different ways. One method is finding common ground with the people you meet. If you can connect with them on their hobbies or interests, youíll have a solid ground to build from. Being observant of people is a great way to pick up on any clues that may lead you to such common ground. The other approach is genuine praise. Paying compliments and being charming can go along way to building a positive rapport with others. A word of warning though, donít go overboard. The key here is genuine praise, donít manufacture it to the point that youíre clearly trying to butter them up.
  • Authority
  • When you are supposed to be an expert in an area, others will be more likely to defer to you. Why? Time and again, experts are able to present a shortcut to good decisions that would otherwise take a long time to come up with yourself. The goal then is to establish that credibility of authority & expertise. Most often miss this chance since they assume others will identify their expertise automatically. You can not leave it up to interpretation because it will often be overlooked. There are numerous other ways to establish such authority. A quick and easy method is to make visible all diplomas, credentials, & awards in the office or workplace to establish your background. Certainly, this may not always be an option. Another approach is to convey expertise through short anecdotes or background information shared in casual conversations. Just remember, your expertise isnít always a known quantity, so be sure to convey it when you get the chance.
  • Scarcity
  • People value what is scarce. Itís just basic supply and demand. As things become more scarce, they become more valuable to other people. There are a few methods that you can use the principle of scarcity to persuade or influence others. One such method is simply to make offers limited-time, limited-supply, or one-time, which immediately creates a sense of scarcity. Simultaneously, how you present such opportunities matters too. If your focal point is more on the loss of language or language that will give an idea of what you will lose out on instead of gain, your message becomes more powerful and clear. At last, is the exclusivity approach. Under the exclusivity approach providing access to information, services, or other items to a limited set of people creates a feeling of exclusiveness. This often gets interpreted as being a favor to those people or that you value them more than other people. If you can incorporate all of these to frame a situation, your powers of persuasion greatly increase. So try to utilize limited offers, loss of language, and exclusivity, to create a sense of scarcity.