Social Influence
Quick revise


Specification Requirements:

  • Types of conformity: internalisation, identification and compliance. Explanations for conformity: informational social influence and normative social influence, and variables affecting conformity including group size, unanimity and task difficulty as investigated by Asch.
  • Conformity to social roles as investigated by Zimbardo.
  • Explanations for obedience: agentic state and legitimacy of authority, and situational variables affecting obedience including proximity, location and uniform, as investigated by Milgram. Dispositional explanation for obedience: the Authoritarian Personality.
  • Explanations of resistance to social influence, including social support and locus of control.
  • Minority influence including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility.
  • The role of social influence processes in social change.

Requirements broken down (research studies are in bold) - Students should be able to:

Types and explanations of conformity

  1. Explain what is meant by conformity
  2. Describe 3 types of conformity (compliance, identification and internalisation)
  3. Describe and evaluate Informational social influence (including research support from Lucas)
  4. Describe and evaluate Normative social influence (including research support from Asch)
  5. Describe and evaluate Asch’s research into conformity
  6. Explain variables that may affect conformity using Asch’s variations to support (a. Group size, b. Unanimity, c. Task difficulty)

Confromity to social roles

  1. Explain what is meant by conformity to social roles
  2. Describe and evaluate Zimbardo’s research study into conformity to social roles


  1. Explain what is meant by obedience
  2. Describe and evaluate research into obedience (Milgram)
  3. Explain situational variables that increase obedience using Milgram’s variations to support. (a. Proximity, b. Location, c. Uniform)
  4. Evaluate Milgram’s variations
  5. Describe and evaluate the agentic state as an explanation for obedience
  6. Describe and evaluate legitimacy of authority as an explanation of obedience
  7. Describe and evaluate the authoritarian personality as an explanation of obedience (including research support from Elms)

Resistance to social influence

  1. Describe and evaluate social support as an explanation of resisting social influence including research support from Asch’s variations
  2. Describe and evaluate locus of control as an explanation of resisting social influence including research support from Holland

Minority influence

  1. Explain what is meant by minority influence
  2. Describe and evaluate explanations for minority influence including research support from Moscovici

Social influence and social change

  1. Explain what is meant by social change
  2. Describe and evaluate the role of social influence in social change (including conformity, obedience and minority influence) including research support from Moscovici (minorities) and Nolan (conformity)


Types and explanations of conformity

  • Conformity
  • Internalisation
  • Identification
  • Compliance
  • Informational social influence
  • Normative social influence
  • Group size
  • Unanimity
  • Task difficulty

Conformity to social roles

  • Social roles


  • Obedience
  • Situational variables
  • Proximity
  • Location
  • Uniform
  • Agentic state
  • Legitimacy of authority
  • Dispositional explanation
  • Authoritarian personality

Resistance to social influence

  • Resistance to social influence
  • Social support
  • Locus of control

Minority Influence

  • Minority influence
  • Consistency
  • Commitment
  • Flexibility

Social influence and social change

  • Social influence
  • Social change

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