Social influence  

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"The pill was approved by the FDA in the early 1960s; its use spread rapidly in the late part of that decade, generating an enormous social impact. Time magazine placed the pill on its cover in April, 1967."--Sholem Stein

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Social influence is when the actions or thoughts of individual(s) are changed by other individual(s). Examples of social influence can be seen in socialization and peer pressure. This is the effect of other people on a person's behaviour.



In the case of peer pressure, a person might be forced into doing something (such as going to an opera) he might not like but is "necessary" to upkeep the positive relationship with the other party, such as the family of their partner. The person could agree to the offering even if he hated it because of many reasons; maybe he is the possible inheritor of the family/person that asks him to come to the opera, the family could want to evaluate the person before letting their son/daughter get married with him/her, etc.

Social influence can also be described by the word power, which means to possess the ability to embrace a person/group of people to one's own will. Usually people of good genes (looks), significant sums of money, good jobs and so on will possess social influence on other, "ordinary" people. So even if the person doesn't possess any "real" or political power but possessed the things listed above (good looks, money, etc.), he could persuade other people into doing/saying something.

An example would be movie stars, who don't (usually) possess any political power but are familiar to many of the world's citizens and therefore possess social status. They get a lot of media coverage, they are admired in television shows and they have many enthusiastic fans.

A popular case involving social influence is the one directed by Charles Manson, of whom had led a group of allies to murder many people. This case ended with his imprisonment, although it is often wondered how Manson had managed to direct his "Family" so well.

Three components

There are three components of social influence. They are:

  1. Conformity : A type of social influence in which individuals change their attitudes or behaviour in order to adhere to existing social norms.
  2. Compliance : A form of social influence involving direct request from one person to another.
  3. Obedience : A form of social influence in which one person obeys direct orders from another to perform some action(s).



One can ask several trivial questions with the expected answer "yes", building trust and acceptance. Further questions such as "Will you buy this?" or "Could you borrow this for me?" are then more likely to be answered with "Yes". This technique used by salesman, and unconsiously, in conversation. It is also present to a certain extent in the Socratic method of debate. See also selling technique.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Social influence" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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