Minority Influence and Social Change Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1679 Words
Date:  2022-05-26


An empirical research uses experiment and observation for assessing, investigating or exploring finding to determine conclusive ideologies (Handerson, 2017, p. 1). Hence, empirical research helps persons to understand human behavior, which pertains to minority influence and social changes by experimental researchers and findings (UF, 2018, p. 1). In this paper researches done by Asch, Miscovici, Chartrand, and Milgram helped in explaining how human behavior becomes molded by compliance influence, conversions, subconsciously and by following orders from recognized authority figures respectively.

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According to Asch's research, minority groups always conformed to the standpoint of majority groups (Surhone, Timpledon, and Marseken, 2010, p. 4). Hence, majority became more influential within the society when compared to the minority group. Nonetheless, Moscovici argued that Asch put a lot of emphasis on the influence emanating from the majority population. Miscovici argued that minorities could also influence a majority of the population (McLeod, 2007, p. 1). Asch too agreed with that idea. Miscovici performed an empirical research to determine situations under which persons followed opinions from the minorities while resisting group pressure.

Miscovici (1969) Minority Influence Experiment

Miscovici (1969) managed to investigate on how behavioral styles arising from consistency within the minority caused influence to the majority through his blue-green studies (Moscovici, Lage, and Naffrechoux, 1969, p. 367). Moscovici did a rerun of Asch's experiment even though he reversed the method to determine how minority population influenced the majority population. Moscovici research used two confederates to represent the minority group and four genuine participants to represent the majority. These participants underwent eye test to eliminate errors emanating from color blindness. Later, groups comprising two confederates and four participants were shown 36 slides that contained different shades.

During the first experiment, the 36 confederates answered the green slides (Moscovici, and Mugny, 1983, p. 1). While the second trial their answers comprised of 12 blues and 24 greens and thus becoming inconsistent. Can the response acquire from the two confederates influence the other four participants? Result findings indicated that during the first trial, 8.42% of the majority was influenced by the minority while for the second trial, 1.25% of the majority was influenced (McLeod, 2007, p. 1). The difference in influences resulted from inconsistency in answers. Using these findings, Moscovici concluded that minority may influence majority only with consistency in behavioral style.

Moscovici research determined that consistent minorities attain more success in changing majority when compared to inconsistent minorities (Moscovici, Lage, and Naffrechoux, 1969, p. 367). Consistencies in opinion convey cause the majority to think that minorities are committed to their opinion and have the right viewpoint. Additionally, consistency in opinion drives a message of being right and also disrupts established majority norms by creating conflict, doubt, and uncertainty (Moscovici, 1979, p. 274). Doubts amongst the majority cause them to take the minorities' views seriously and to re-assess their own opinions.

Subconscious Influence of Social Changes

In regards to social change, people's behaviors and beliefs are usually unconsciously influenced by those around them (Dunfey, 2017, p. 1). Therefore, the social changes occur in an automated and spontaneous sense that alludes to one person changing others. For instance, one student may like jazz music because their roommate plays it a lot (Jhangiani, and Terry, 2018, 1). Even though the student may not have initially intended to listen to the music and their roommates did not force them to like jazz music. These changes only occurred passively and unconsciously.

A research done by Robert Cialdini together with his colleagues determined that the probability of college students throwing litter after seeing someone else throw paper on the floor was higher (Jhangiani, and Terry, 2018, p. 1). Moreover, they had lower probabilities of throwing litters on the floor when they saw someone else picking up these papers to throw them in trash cans. Researchers interpreted these changes as spontaneous conformity that refers to the trend of following others behavior without awareness. Spontaneous conformity also refers to as subtle conformity that indicates behaviors arising from imitating other persons within the surrounding.

Research done by Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh sought to determine whether imitating others could occur to strangers or within very short time frames (Jhangiani, and Terry, 2018, p. 1). During the experiment, students conducted an intentional behavior of rubbing the face or shaking the foot with the aim of determining if the real research student will mimic. Nonetheless, the real participant did not mimic. However, while they were discussing photographs from the magazine, the confederate unconsciously mirrored mannerism, movement, and postures that the real participant displayed. Since imitation adorns flattery; persons are bound to like those who imitate them (Seibt, et al., 2015, p. 1). The true participant grew fond of the confederate, which indicated that they had smooth interactions.

Research findings indicated that mimicking others cannot be induced since it occurs subconsciously (Jhangiani, and Terry, 2018, p. 1). Imitating others is crucial during social interaction because it develops ways of communicating approval to behaviors and for amicable coordination while working (Dunfey, 2017, p. 3). Therefore, some people get along immediately when they meet while others fail because of how they mimic one another. Subconscious mimic of others results in social changes within the society.

Asch Conformance experiment

Solomon Asch (1951) did an experiment to disapprove Sherif's conformity experiment that lacked correct answer in the skeptical autokinetic experiment. Asch experiment is currently termed as a classical experiment in the field of social psychology since there were obvious answers that aligned judgment tasks (Carley, 2013, p. 1). When participants gave incorrect answers, it becomes relative that they were influenced by group pressure. Asch experiment mainly investigates the extent to which majority group's social pressure may influence conformance in persons (Surhone, Timpledon, and Marseken, 2010, p. 1).

The experiment involved 50 students from Swarthmore College who participated in vision test of selecting a line which is similar to the target line from the group of three choices. Using line judgment task, one real participant was put in a room containing seven confederates. These seven confederates had a prior agreement of answers, which the real participant did not know. Each participant stated loudly which line from the choice of A, B, and C compared with the target line and the answer was obvious.

Confederates had 12 out of 18 trials done with wrong answers and corresponded to 32% of real participant siding with the wrong answer issued by a majority (McLeod, 2018, p. 1). In regards to the 12 critical trials, 75% of participants conformed while the remaining percentage lacked participation. However, only 1% of participants issued an incorrect answer (Asch, 1952, p. 97). Results indicated that participants conformed readily to answers that they did not believe because of fearing to be thought of as peculiar or to prevent ridicule. Hence persons usually conform to a majority with the intentions of attaining some sense of belonging, which is based on normative influence. Additionally, persons conform to group pressure because of believing that others are more informed than them, which is in regards to informational influence.

Milgram's Experiment on Obedience to Authority

Moreover, Milgram (1963) conducted an experiment to determine the conflicts existing between personal conscience and obedience to authority in order to offer justification for acts of genocide that occurred during the Holocaust (McLeod, 2007, p. 1). In defense, the case aimed to prove that offenders only followed orders emanating from their superiors. Milgram was investigating whether Germans who accomplished Nazi killings were obeying orders from authority figures. He wished to determine what extents persons were willing to take orders from their authorities even when it harmed others.

The experiment comprised of learners, teachers and an experimenter. Milgram's confederates were always learners while real participants became teachers. A learner was strapped to an electric chair that had electric shock generator attached to it in one room. Their teacher was placed in another room and had the task of teaching students a list of paired words. Later, students were asked to recall the missing word from a list of four words given to correctly match words provided. In case of wrong answers, the teacher was to administer electric shocks to their students in increasing levels from the 30 switches provided that generated shocks from 15volts to 450volts (severe and dangerous shock) (McLeod, 2007, p. 1). The learner gave mostly wrong answers purposefully in order for the teacher to administer shocks.

An experimenter was in another room and issued orders with increment in authoritative intensity to teachers and hence compelling them to administer shocks to students that gave wrong answers. When the teacher became adamant, the experimenter made a successive and more authoritative order from the list of four to compel the teacher into administering shocks. Results indicated that 65% of participants obeyed orders for administering shocks to students and even went up to the highest and most dangerous levels (McLeod, 2007, p. 1). Hence, ordinary persons will mostly follow orders issued by the authority even when it means killing innocent persons. People usually follow orders from authority because of regarding them to be legally based or morally right. Persons usually have an instilled habit of responding to legitimate authority based on teachings acquired from workplaces, schools and family setups. Hence, offenders of holocaust only followed orders, even though their actions resulted in genocide.

Mascovici research findings indicate that minorities can change the behavior of majority by taking clear positions, which is backed up by consistency that advocates and defend their stand. Asch research determined that compliance caused the majority to influence minorities (UF, 2018, p. 1). In regards to social change, persons are most likely to subconsciously mirror the behavior of others around them as a form of approval and for smooth coordination when persons are working. Milgram research illustrated that persons tend to follow orders from authorities even when it entails killing other people, because of viewing their leaders as legally based and morally right.

List of References

Asch, S., 1952. Social Psychology. England: Oxford University Press.

Carley, S., 2013. Independence Verses Conformity, Revisiting a Solomon E Asch Study: Psychology in Action. San Diego: General Books.

Dunfey T., 2017. What Is Social Change and Why Should We Care? Manchester: Southern New Hampshire University. [Online] Available at https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/news-and-events/2017/11/what-is-social-changeHanderson J., 2017. Empirical Research. New York: Ithaca College Library. [Online] Available at https://library.ithaca.edu/sp/subjects/empirical

Jhangiani R., and Terry H., 2018. Principles of Social Psychology: The many variety of conformity. Casgrain: Pressbooks. [Online] Available at https://opentextbc.ca/...

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Minority Influence and Social Change Essay Example. (2022, May 26). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/minority-influence-and-social-change-essay-example

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