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Important Questions & Answers: Social Influence & Group Processes - Notes | Study Psychology Class 12 - Humanities/Arts

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Very Short Answer Questions 

Q.1. What is a group?

A group is defined as an organised system of two or more individuals who are interacting and interdependent, who have common motives, have a set of role relationships and norms that regulate their behaviour.
Example: family, class, playgroup.


Q.2. What is compliance? Explain with an example.

Compliance refers to behaving in response to a request from another person or group even in the absence of a norm. For example, a member of a community group for ‘Clean Environment’ requests you to put a sticker on your bike that reads, ‘Say no to Plastic bags’. You agree to do so not because of group norm or because you personally believe in banning plastic bags, but because you see no harm or problem in putting such sticker. At the same time, it is easier to say ‘yes’ than ‘no’ to such a harmless request.


Q.3. What is social influence?

Social influence refers to those processes whereby our attitudes and behaviours are influenced by real or imagined presence of other people. Parents, teach.


Q.4. Explain conformity.

People conform because:

  • It allows people to function more smoothly by adhering to group norms.
  • People behaving in a different way may lead to disapproval.
  • The norm is seen as reflecting views and beliefs of the majority. Most people believe that the majority is more likely to be right.


Q.5. How do groups differ?

Some groups have a large number of members such as a country, some are small like a family, some are short-lived like a committee, some live together for many years, such as religious groups and some are informally organised such as spectators of a match.


Q.6. Differentiate between identification and internalisation.

Identification refers to influence process based on agreement seeking or identity seeking while internalisation is a process based on information seeking.


Short Answer Questions

Q.7. Describe the factors that facilitate group formation.
OR
State three conditions which facilitate group formation.

The following factors facilitate group formation:
(i) Proximity: Repeated interactions with the same set of individuals give us a chance to know them and their interests and attitudes. Common interests, attitudes and background are important determinants of your liking for your group members.
(ii) Similarity: When two people are similar, there is consistency and they start liking each other. For example, when two students in a class share the interest of playing cricket, they are likely to become friends. When we meet similar people, they reinforce and validate our opinions and values and thus we start liking them. For example, you feel watching TV is not good because it shows too much violence and when you meet someone with similar views, it validates your opinion and you start liking the person.
(iii) Common motives and goals: When people have common motives or goals, they get together and form a group. For example, you want to teach children in a slum area and meet like-minded people who help you in achieving your goal.


Q.8. Why do groups take extreme decisions or why does group polarisation occur?
What is bandwagon effect?
OR
Explain group polarisation. Give reasons for occurance of group polarisation.

Groups are more likely to take extreme decisions than individuals alone. This is group polarisation. If an employee is caught taking bribe, the group might take a decision of imposing an extreme decision of terminating his services.When you find others also favouring capital punishment, you feel that this view is validated by the public. This is known as bandwagon effect.Groups take extreme decisions because
(i) In the company of like-minded people, you take extreme decisions.
(ii) You feel that your view of capital punishment is validated by the public
(iii) You become a part of the group that has similar view and you start identifying with the group.


Q.9. State the determinants of conformity?

The determinants of conformity are:
(i) Size of the group: Conformity is greater when the group is small than when the group is larger. It is easier for a deviant member to be noticed in a small group and hence they conform because they do not want to be perceived as different.
(ii) Size of minority: When the deviating minority size increases, the likelihood of conformity decreases.
(iii) Nature of the task: Conformity is more likely in a situation where there is a correct or incorrect answer than when answers vary widely without any answer being correct or incorrect.
(iv) Public or private expression of behaviour: Less conformity is found under private expression (e.g., voting by secret ballot) than under public expression.
(v) Personality: Highly intelligent people, those who are confident of themselves, those who are strongly committed and have high self-esteem are less likely to conform.


Q.10. What are the major determinants of a cooperation and competition?

The determinants of a cooperation and competition are
(i) Reward structure: Cooperative reward is one in which there is interdependence and reward is possible only if all contribute. A competitive reward structure is one in which one can get a reward only.
(ii) Interpersonal communication: Good interpersonal communication facilitates cooperation which in turn facilitates interaction and discussion.
(iii) Reciprocity: Cooperation may encourage more cooperation while competition produces more competition. For example, if someone has helped you in the past you are more likely to help him while on the other hand, if someone has refused to help you, you also might refuse to help him.


Q.11. Differentiate between an audience and a mob.

An audience is a collection of people who have assembled for a special purpose. For example, to watch a cricket match or a movie. They are generally passive but sometimes become frenzy and become mobs.
A mob has a definite purpose. There is polarization in attention and actions of persons in a common direction. Mob behaviour is characterised by homogeneity of thought and behaviour as well as impulsivity.


Long Answer Questions

Q.12. How often do you show conformity in your behaviour? What are the determinants of conformity?

People conform because:

  • It allows people to function more smoothly by adhering to group norms.
  • People behaving in a different way may lead to disapproval.
  • The norm is seen as reflecting views and beliefs of the majority. Most people believe that the majority is more likely to be right.

The determinants of conformity are:
(i) Size of the group: Conformity is greater when the group is small than when the group is larger. It is easier for a deviant member to be noticed in a small group and hence they conform because they do not want to be perceived as different.
(ii) Size of minority: When the deviating minority size increases, the likelihood of conformity decreases.
(iii) Nature of the task: Conformity is more likely in a situation where there is a correct or incorrect answer than when answers vary widely without any answer being correct or incorrect.
(iv) Public or private expression of behaviour: Less conformity is found under private expression (e.g. voting by secret ballot) than under public expression.
(v) Personality: Highly intelligent people, those who are confident of themselves, those who are strongly committed and have high self-esteem are less likely to conform.


Q.13. Why do people obey even when they know that their behaviour may be harming others? Explain.

When compliance is shown to an instruction or order from a person in authority such as parents, teachers, leaders or policemen, that is called obedience.
The causes of obedience are:
(i) People obey because they feel that they are not responsible for their own actions,they are simply carrying out orders from the authority.
(ii) Authority possesses symbols of status (e.g. uniform, title) which people find difficult to resist.
(iii) Once you obey small orders, slowly there is an escalation of commitment for the person who is in authority and one starts obeying bigger orders.
(iv) Many times, events are moving at such a fast speed, that no one has time to think but just to obey orders from above.


Q.14. Suggest some strategies to reduce inter-group conflicts.

Some of the conflict resolution strategies are:
(i) Introduction of super-ordinate goals: A super-ordinate goal is mutually beneficial to both parties, hence both groups work cooperatively.
(ii) Conflicts can be reduced by altering perceptions and reactions through persuasion,educational and media appeals and portrayal of groups differently in society.
(iii) Increasing inter-group contacts: This can be done by involving groups in conflict on neutral grounds through community projects and events.
(iv) Redrawing group boundaries: This can be done by creating conditions where group boundaries are re-defined and groups come to perceive themselves as belonging to a common group.
(v) Redrawing group boundaries: Group boundaries are redefined and groups come to perceive themselves as belonging to common group.
(vi) Negotiations: Third party interventions can help in finding mutually acceptable solutions. This requires understanding and trust. It refers to reciprocal communications so as to reach as agreement in situations in which there is a conflict.
(vii) Structural solutions: Societal resources can be reduced according to principles based on justice. Some of the principles of justice are: equality (allocating equally to every one), need (allocating on the basis of needs) and equity (allocating on the basis of contributions of members).
(viii) Respect for other group’s norms: This involves respecting and being sensitive to strong norms of various social and ethnic groups.


Q.15. How does Tuckman’s stage model help you to understand the formation of groups?

The following are the stages of a group:
(i) Forming stage: When group members first meet, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the group, the goal and how it is to be achieved. There is excitement and apprehension. This stage is called the forming stage.
(ii) Storming stage: In this stage, there is conflict among members about how the target of the group is to be achieved, who is to control the group and its resources, and who is to perform what task.When this stage is complete, some sort of hierarchy of leadership in the group develops and a clear vision as to how to achieve the group goal.
(iii) Norming stage: Group members by this time develop norms related to group behaviour. This leads to development of positive group identity.
(iv) Performing stage: By this time, the structure of the group has evolved. The group moves towards achieving the group goal.For some groups, this is the last stage of group development.
(v) Adjourning stage: For some groups this is the last stage like in the case of an organizing committee for a school function. In this stage, once the function is over, the group may be disbanded.For example, during an annual function in a school, groups are formed consisting of the various participants and when the programme is over the group is dissolved.


Q.16. Compare and contrast formal and informal groups, and ingroups and outgroups.

(i) The formation of formal groups is based on some specific rules or laws and members have definite roles. There is a set of norms which help in establishing order. On the other hand, formation of informal groups is not based on rules or laws.
(ii) Relationship among members in formal groups is not close. On the other hand, there is a close relationship among members of an informal group.
(iii) For example, a university is a formal group while family is an informal group.
The term in-group refers to one’s own group and out-group refers to another group.For in-group members we use the word ‘we’ while for out-group members the word ‘they’ is used.


Q.17. Why do people join groups?

People join groups because they satisfy a range of needs:
(i) Security: When we are alone we feel insecure. Groups reduce this insecurity. Being with people gives a sense of comfort and protection. As a result, people feel stronger and less vulnerable to threats.
(ii) Status: People feel recognised, important and experience a sense of power. For example, your school wins in inter-school debate, you feel proud and think that you are better than others.
(iii) Self-esteem: Groups provide feelings of self-worth and give positive social identity.Being a member of a prestigious group enhances one’s self-concept.
(iv) Satisfaction of psychological and social needs: Groups satisfy needs of belongingness, giving and receiving attention, love etc.
(v) Goal achievement: Groups help in achieving such goals which cannot be attained individually. There is power in the majority.
(vi) Provide knowledge and information: Group membership provides knowledge and information that broadens our view.

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