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Social Psychology of Groups

Conformity is when someone changes behavior to after or in response to a stimulus that can be fictitious or reality, this pressure usually is from others. An example of Conformity is when I was a teenager felt pressure to conform to drink from peer pressure. Compliance is when someone makes a direct request for you to change or "modify" behaviors, compliance usually is an "ask" or suggestion verbally spoken to follow a task, and sometimes isnt something you would do without the inspiration. An example of compliance is when someone comes to my door and asks me to sign a petition, I am being asked to "comply" with their request. Obedience is when an authority figure or person in power tells you, "orders" or "commands" you to change behavior. Usually obedience has todo with someone of great power over an individual such as listening to a commanding military officer or authority figure from the government. I personally have never had to fully obey someone except maybe a police officer or the law, such as paying taxes, although these are things we do have to obey or we suffer major consequences. We could also technically have to "obey" parents when we are younger, such as toddlers etc.


"Foot in the door technique" and "door in the face technique" is a way that sales people and other people who use the powers of suggestion to "get their way" with others. Foot in the door is when someone makes a small request and increases the "responsibility", "asks" or "outpoot" after the small task. An example of this is when a person asks you to sign a petition, then after signing the petition asks you to donate money. The tasks go from a small minor favor to a larger responsibility from others. Social psychologists tested this theory in israel with asking people to post a sign on their door saying that they donated to a cancer society. After the people put the sign on the door the psychologists measured how many people were willing to put a large sign in their yard. I personally can sense this technique when I see it, people downtown ann arbor use FITD all the time when trying to get you to support causes, I always will sign the petition if its for a good cause but never give any money.

Door in the face technique is when someone asks for a very large favor then moves towards a smaller favor once the original suggestion was denied. The technique starts with a large ask such as donating $1000 to a boy scouts troop, then when refused, lowering the ask to some other smaller donation such as a $200 donation. This technique works from a large ask to a small ask, while FITD works from a small ask to a large one. Social psychologists tested this theory by doing an experiment of asking people to teach or watch a group of deliquents for a year, 2 times a week. They measured how many people refused, then continued to ask the same person if they would be willing to take the delinquents to the zoo for a day or couple hours. The first request was larger because it required alot more time and longer commitment rather only a single day or couple hours. A time that the door in the face technique was worked on me was when I was at the vet. The vet came in with a $1000 bill, I told them I cant afford that bill and I would go somewhere else. They then came back with a second offer or bill that was a few hundred dallors less immediatly with a similar less throurough treatment plan. This was the door in the face technique because the initial offer was so extreme that they knew I would succum to to paying the lower bill.


Directive leadership is when one person "dominates" or makes a final decision for a group without much participation from other group members. Although directive leadership doesnt value participation as much as other forms of leadership, those that practice it tend to try to have some type of group consensus. Usually these types of leaders make better decisions and use unshared information to "direct" or lead the group towards their ultimate goal or decision. A positive aspect of Directive leaders are very goal oriented and dont really have an interest in sharing power with others or feelings which could lead to the better decision making of directive leaders since they arent concerned as much with others input or outlooks. A negetive aspect is that they dont interact with members as much would could lead to disobedience.

On the contrary, participative leaders are those leaders who share the power of the group with others and tend to ask for input from all the members of the group. Participative leaders tend to not use unshared information, but is able to bring out more common information from group members. Participative leaders are more concerned with a consensus of all members, which leads to more incorrect answers due to participative leaders possibly caring more about others outlooks and feelings. A postive aspect of participative leaders is that they listen to others in the group and share power. A negetive aspect is that since they do listen to others they tend to get wrong answers, which leads to sometimes poor decision making.

Although both leadership styles offer their own strengths, directive leadership has been shown to be a stronger type of leadership in a social psychological setting.


Being apart of groups is extremely important the the homo sapien. Groups provide biological, social and psychological fulfilment, people that dont participate in groups have been known to show mental health crisis's and depression. Groups provide biological fulfilment by creating a means of survival for ancient humans, which ultimately changed our brain chemistry to be more attracted to group settings. These ancient humans used groups to allocate energy to group hunting, gathering and villages. In more modern times, polyamourus relationships could technically be considered groups which fulfil sexually biological needs. In more modern times, groups at work provide a means of survival, as jobs are how we pay bills.

Socially groups provide advice and different outlooks the "lone wolf" may over look. When we participate in groups we have the input of others that make humans more aware of their surroundings or interactions of the world. When we are exposed to others in social settings it challenges our outlooks, but also provides support when we need it to better feel like we belong when we need help in a task or advice.

Psychologically we need groups for emotional support. Humans are creatures that need emotional reinforcement, which ties into biological and social need. When humans biological and social needs arent met via groups our psychological states can become distorted causing mental health issues. This has been seen via the covid pandemic when humans were forced apart causing a mental health crisis and epidemic. Numbers for mental illness has been higher during the covid epidemic than ever before in human history.

I personally find fulfilment in a various spiritual groups that I participate in. I could say that I find all three of these categories, biological, social and psychological fulfilment from my spiritual groups. I find biological fulfilment by meeting new potential partners and feeling safe when im worshiping with my fellows. I find social support from them by being recognized when I have a deep insight about God or life. I find psychological fulfilment from them when I get sad about life, they remind me that I am not alone and we all suffer, which helps my sadness and not feeling so alone.

The psychology of groups is extremally interesting since humans have moved from needing groups for survival in the past more towards psychological needs, this is not to say it is important to work in groups in professional (work) settings which now support our means of survival. Groups have been reenforced in a spiritual and social aspects which support our mental health, all three categories of biological needs, social needs and psychological needs all feed into one another.




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