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social influence


Subject Psychology

Key-Topics social issues

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631202899.1996.x


A large and important field of research concerned with processes whereby people's beliefs , opinions, attitudes, values , and behavior are changed or controlled through social communication and interaction as a function of social relationships between the recipient(s) and source(s) of influence. Areas of study and major phenomena include: (1) the formation of social norms ; (2) social conformity ; (3) attitude change and persuasion ; (4) power and compliance ; (5) minority social influence ; (6) group polarization ; and (7) obedience to authority. Given that any and all social modifications of individual psychology can be described as effects of social influence, another sense of the term summarizes the whole field of social psychology (e.g., as an attempt to understand how the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others). However, the more restricted meaning exemplified in the areas listed above is more usual. These areas study the functioning of social-normative processes in social interaction and the related problem of the subjective validation of own and others’ beliefs about appropriate behavior. Influence relates to the processes whereby people agree or disagree about appropriate behavior; form, maintain, or change social norms; and the social conditions that give rise to, and the effects ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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