Obedience and Conformity to Authority

Complete 8 pages APA formatted article: Obedience and Conformity to Authority. The interactions in the society sometimes demand obedience and conformity from an individual, not necessarily because the person is in support of what they are obeying and conforming to but because the authority is involved.

Social psychology is a discipline in the broad field of psychology that tries to explore how people think about, feel, power and relate to one another in a social setting. It helps explain the various impressions that people have of one another and why prejudices and stereotypes develop and flourish in a society. The disciplines recognize the fact that nobody can live entirely for themselves alone, people periodically move out of their own lives into those of other people usually unconsciously and this has an effect of both parties directly or indirectly. Obedience to authorities and to social groupings is also recognized as part of social psychology (McLeod, 2008).

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In a society, people often influence one another in many different ways. The three main strategies of social influence are manipulation of the norm of reciprocity also known as the standard or returning gifts, the lowball technique and the feigned scarcity. Persuasion is the main strategy that is used by the authority to change people’s attitude. The success of persuasion depends on the credibility and likeability of the source and the channel, the clarity and transparency of the information and the impression that the information creates in the receiver. However, there are instances where persuasion is not based on freedom of choice. This is known as the persuasion by coercion. It limits people freedom and tries to convince the people that it is in their interest not to reason. In some cases, people are subjected to emotionally or physically stressing situations to comply (McLeod, 2008).

There are more than ten social psychology theories recognized today. This wide variety of theories describes various forms of social cognition. They are, therefore, developed to describe a particular social situation. The attribution theory is involved in the explanation of how people describe or attribute other people’s behaviour, the cognitive dissonance theory is based on the consistency of the cognition and related directly to self-concept theory, the self-verification theory explores the ideal desire that people have to be known or recognized by others, the social exchange theory is mainly socio-economic and postulates that human social relationships are based on the analysis and recognition of cost-benefit. The social identity theory examines how groupings affect perception and view of others. Social penetration theory explains how interpersonal relationships in social settings develop and grow to become intimate and deep.

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