Social Influence on Behavior

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Social Influence on Behavior

PSY/300
August14,2013

Social Influence on Behavior
Human behavior is often not standalone in nature. A major consideration is, therefore, the social surroundings in which one dwells. Humans are social animals whose behavior is often influenced by and changes in the presence of others. The paper discusses two such instances whereby human behavior is different in the presence of others than what it would be otherwise. The first identifies groupthink as the source of such behavior particularly during crisis situation whereby the limited time available may prohibit humans for relying on cognitive information processing and standalone decisions. The other recognizes the phenomenon of impression management when politicians try to impress their followers through favorable self-presentation. One example is that of a pilot of a crashing airplane who engages in groupthink. This is because the pilot relies on managers at the Aviation center and air traffic control authorities who in turn rely on the engineers who are responsible for designing the aircraft. Usually airplanes have a certain rule whereby the take off is cancelled or delayed in the event of any anticipated defect or problem in the aircraft. However, the aircraft personnel may refuse to listen to the warnings issued by the control tower regarding safety hazards, thereby certifying that the aircraft is ready to take off. Engineers may also refrain from issuing warnings to secure their position. One of the major causes of this behavior by the pilot is the groupthink phenomenon as highlighted in social psychology. This is because individuals make their decisions based on both the central route (involving cognitive information processing) as well as peripheral route (involving environmental cues) (Petty, Cacioppo, & Schumann, 1983). Therefore, both the rational and non-rational modes of decision-making co-exist even in the most complex situations. Rational decision-making...
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