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Types of social change in psychology

In psychology, there are several types of social change. We have individual social changes and group social changes.

Individual Social Changes
Social Mobility- In this situation, people change to fit in with the majority. It usually relates to class or wealth, as sexuality, race and gender are things you cannot change (however a few people do argue that our sexuality is a choice). An example of this could be a poor man working hard to become upper-class and rich, then become part of the majority and forgetting his roots from the poor minority.

Group Social Changes
Social Creativity- Here, people try to ‘rise above’ social segregation or grouping. This could be someone rising above a majority for religion, sexuality, gender, ethnicity or more… An example of this is a female choosing not to argue with a male based society and simply living with it, ‘being the better person’.

Social Competition- In this situation people challenge the majority and fight against social norm & often involves internalisation. Again, this could be to do with ethnicity, sexuality, gender or more… An example could be Martin Luther King challenging the segregation between black and white people and internalising his own beliefs.


Conformity & Obedience in the real world

Conformity and Obedience can be seen all around us…

The picture here clearly shows identification as the police officers are showing authsimply and being firm simply because that is their role. It may also link to the evidence showing that uniform has an effect on people’s behaviour and how others are obedient to them.

We can see clear situational factors in obedience here as the man on the floor is responding obediently because in the situation the police officers have legitimate authority over the civilian. Whether or not he is guilty of a crime.

The ‘idiot’s guide’ to… conformity!

The definition of conformity is: Behaviour in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards. Which basically means doing things as other people do. Conformity is all around in in the real world and is the cause of many things in life such as group hatred or racism.

Kelman (1958) was the first to put forward the idea of there being three different levels of conformity. These included:

  • Compliance‘doing things because they are expected’ and usually involves a threat which encourages to follow these behaviours. It involves strong internal deceit and is the most common level of conformity however not the deepest – people can easily and often do rebel to this. It is encouraged by observation however it is often the case that when we are not being watched, we no longer comply. An example of this could be Carlos Tevez being fined £9.3 million for speaking badly of the club. Notice this involves the fine which is the threat in this case.
  • Identification ‘doing something because it’s your job/role’ which usually involves behaviour of people in the work place as they take on behaviours which are to be expected of them in their job. In professional cases we must understand that it may not reflect on their usual social behaviours and it could have a lot to do with the uniform… It is also relevant in social subgroups (‘I am a teen therefore i will put headphones in and wear fashionable clothes’) but it is important to remember that everyone is still unique yet we allow ourselves to be identified. An example is a customer service agent always smiling, speaking in a friendly tone and always being overly helpful.
  • Internalisation ‘getting someone else to genuinely believe your values so  they adopt these behaviours’ and is the deepest of all types of conformity yet is much more difficult to do. Unlike the others, this is most successful when a positive and supportive approach is used and happens through trust usually through a few individuals. With this the behaviours are deeply indented so they continue even when the person is not observed. My personal favourite example of this is Martin Luther King.

Normative social influence is simply compelling to fit in, just because others do while informative social influence is compelling because you assume others know better than you. These are very important things to recognise…

The meta-contrast principal is the tendency for group members to see strong similarities between themselves and other members of their group and to see large differences with other social groups. This is something that is easy to relate to for most people which helps us to understand this a lot more.

Finally, there is a key difference between majority influence and minority influence which Asch (1951) helped to prove.

  • Minorities exert the most influence when they are consistent & Clark (1989) said there are two ways that a minority exerts influence, which is: providing persuasive arguements as people listen to what is said and change their views, the other is showing defective behaviour.
  • Majority influence links a lot to normative social influence…

Privation, using Wordle

Our group explored and created Wordles based on privation, we created three separate Wordles… one was key terms, the other was case studies and the last was methodological and ethical issues.

I think we chose these based on relevance and importance and the size of the words are in relation to there importance in this particular chapter.

issues wordle

Case studies privation wordle

Privation wordle, key terms


We quickly discovered that our hypothesis was correct, and that participants memorised easier through words rather than through colours… 

I don’t know how to post a link to my powerpoint on here…?

Progress of colour/word experiment

Today, our group created two separate slideshow presentations, one was the experiment using just colours and the other using words of the colours.

We created clear instructions, instructing participants to:

  • only write when a blank screen is showing
  •  not to communicate when taking the experiment
  •  to write the numbers 1 to 4 down the side of their paper

We also explained what they were going to be shown and that they simply had to write down the colours shown when told to do so.

Colour Experiment

Aim: To find out whether 14-16 year olds memorise better through images or words.

(D) Hypothesis: They will remember the words better than the colours.

Experiment will be conducted as a lab experiment.

Colours Used: Red, Yellow, Pink, Green, Orange, Purple, Blue and Brown.

IV: Whether we change the stimulus from colours, to words.

DV: Recall rate

CV1: Gender-boys may remember male related colour such as green and blue and girls will remember female related colours such as pink and purple.

CV2: time of day

CV3: where the experiment is done- light(artifical/natural/amount), distractions, posters, etc..

CV4: subject ppt is taken from-different moods from different lessons.

CV5: colour blindness

D: RIC- (Retrospective informative consent.) Participants must not know the aim of the experiment (recalling) this may alter the results. During the debriefing the participant will be asked if they accept their results being used; theywill also be asked if theywould liek to know the overall results of the experiment.

I:PC (presumptive consent) will be used, this means that people from the same sample group will be given an explanation of the experiment and asked if they find it appropriate.

P: Participants have the right to withdraw at any point during the experiment and can withdraw their results at anytime during or after he experiment is given. If they request their results to be discarded, the results will be destroyed.

Sampling: Opportunity/ Volunteer Sampling

We will use matched pairs design which is getting a pair of participants that are similar in age and gender; we will then use one participant as a control group and the other as an experimental group.