Social InferenceThis print version free essay Social Inference.
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Social Influence on memory of Sydney Olympic 2000
Our decision-making might change as a consequence of interacting with a single individual or a group of people. We tend to have same opinion with others when we are in a group. An experiment about the effect of social influence was conducted. 563 participants were asked to recall how many medals Australia got in Sydney Olympics 2000. Participants were given ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ (50%), ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ or ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ (150%) examples. Result shows that participants tend to be influenced by examples given to them. Participants who were given ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ examples had lower answers than those given ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ examples while participants given ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ examples had higher answers than those given ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ examples.
In our daily life, can we ignore to everyone and only do the things that you thought? Absoulty not. There are so many things in our life are affected by the presence of others. For example, after having a Biology multiple choices questions, all your friends said the answer of the first question is B where your answer is C, are u still sure your answer is correct? Social psychologists call these kinds of human behavior as Social Inference. Our attitudes, belief, decisions and actions will be affected by the power of social inference. Conformity is one kind of social inference which to adjust oneÐŽÂ¦s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
Chartand and Bargh demonstrated the effect of conformity when they had students work in a room alongside someone- a confederate working for the experimenter- who rubbed his or her face and, on another occasion, alongside a confederate who shook his or her foot. In this experiment, participants tended to rub their own face when with the face-rubbing person and shake their own foot with the foot-shaking person.
Also, Solomon Asch devised a simple test in 1955. Participants were taken to a room where five people were already seated. The experimenter gave the participant a standard line and other three lines- one is the same as the standard line and , two of them are shorter than the standard line. Participants were asked which line identical to the standard line and they were arranged to be the last one to answer. One third of participants answered wrongly when the first five people give the wrong answer.
In this experiment, participants were randomly divided into three groups. They were asked to fill in a questionnaire about how many medals Australia got in Sydney Olympics 2000. The ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ group were given examples of 50% of actual figure, ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ group were given accurate example while ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ group were given examples of 150% of actual figure.
This study investigated whether people are influenced by the views of others when other people have different opinion with them. It was predicted that the mean of the ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ group will be significantly lower than the ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ group while the mean of ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ group will be significantly higher than the ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ group.
563 participants with 385 females and 178 males who study in Psychology 102 in the University of the Western Australia participated in the current research. Their mean age is 19.4 with a standard deviation of 5.1and the range of the participants is from 16 to 63.
Students are required to complete a set of question about how many gold, silver and bronze medals Australia got in the Sydney Olympic 2000. The answers were recorded in the computer. Then the data was analyzed by the SPSS.
Every member in the Psychology 102 tutorial class had to complete the question. The first ten answers are the examples which were divided into three groups: 1.Above average. 2.At the average. 3.Below average. The previous answers were shown on the screen, the current students are able to see the answers from previous students. The process was repeated in each tutorial class. When analyzing the data, a bar graph using 95% confidence interval was been constructed in order to check if the population means were significantly different from one another.
Descriptive statistics summarizing the mean, lower and Upper Boundary of High, Medium and Low group are shown in Table 1.
Mean, Lower and Upper boundary in High, Medium and Low group
Mean number of medals guessed Lower Upper
Low 42.80 40.08 45.52
Medium 57.96 56.36 59.55
High 79.89 77.82 81.96
There are different between ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦, ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ group for the total medals. It is not sure whether they are significant. Therefore, independent sample t-tests were used to compare the differences between the means of ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦, also for ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦.
T-Test result shows that there are significant difference between ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦. t (375) = 9.301, p < .001. Also, T-Test result shows that there are significant difference between ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦. t (366) = 21.936, p < .001. Means of results of ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦, ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ Condition are shown in figure 1.
Figure 1 ÐŽV Means of results of ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦, ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ and ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ Condition
The hypotheses were supported. The mean of ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ group was significantly lower than the ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ groupÐŽÂ¦s group. Also, the mean of ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ group was significantly higher than the mean of ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ group.
It was hypothesized that the mean of ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ group would be lower than ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ group as participants filled in the questionnaire, they were given example of lower (50%) figure. They believed that the examples were the answers of previous participants. In order not to be the only different one, they answered the questionnaire around the average of the previous answers even they knew the real numbers of medals that Australia got in the 2000 Olympic Game. It was also hypothesized that the mean of ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ group would be higher than the ÐŽÒAccurateÐŽÂ¦ group because participants were given examples of higher (150%) figure. Again, participants thought the examples were the answers of previous participants, they higher their answer as to match with others.
The results are the same as the previous studies, when people are in such a situation, they do not want to be the only one different in a group, they tend to adjust oneÐŽÂ¦s thinking to coincide with a group standard.
But there was limitation in this study because we didnÐŽÂ¦t have enough participants. Since we didnÐŽÂ¦t have enough participants, we could only divide participants into three groups. If there were enough participants, they could be divided into five groups instead of three groups. ÐŽÒLowÐŽÂ¦ group could be divided into two sub-groups. One group received examples of all lower value while the other one received all lower examples but a few (maybe three or four) were the higher values. We can see whether the few accurate examples can reduce the strength of conformity.
Similarly, ÐŽÒHighÐŽÂ¦ group could also be divided into two sub-groups. One received examples of all high value and the other one received all higher examples but a few of the answers were lower This is also to see if the few accurate ÐŽÒexampleÐŽÂ¦ can weaken the strength of conformity
In conclusion, people are influenced by the others when they are in a group. When they are under a situation that they think they are the one holding different thinking from the others. In order to look the same as others, they might conform to others in the group. They tend to adjust oneÐŽÂ¦s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
David G. Myers(2004), Psychology 7th edition, Worth Publishers, Social psychology, social influence,p.702-713