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Study Notes

Social Influence Key Term Glossary

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The key terms and concepts for Social Influence are listed here.

As you study Social Influence, make full use of the tutor2u study notes on social influence and also our revision quizzes on social influence.

Agentic state

Individual carries out the orders of another person, acting as their agent with little personal responsibility

Authoritarian personality

A person who has extreme respect for authority and is obedient to those who have power over them

Autonomous state

Where individuals are seen as personally responsible for their actions

Cognitive dissonance

Unpleasant feeling of anxiety created when simultaneously holding two contradictory ideas


Superficial type of conformity where people conform publicly by privately disagree


Alternative term for stooges or pseudo-participants


Changing what we do think or say in response to others


Degrading people by lessening their human qualities


When a person moves into a group and as a result loses some individual identity

Dispositional attribution

Explanation of individual behavior as a result caused by internal characteristics that reside within the individual


Where people change their beliefs (sometimes temporarily) to fit in with a group

Individual variables

Personal characteristics that affect the degree to which individuals yield to group pressures


Where people change their beliefs permanently

Ironic deviance

Takes place when we believe that the behaviour of the majority is the result of unreasonable pressure from authority

Locus of control

Extent to which individuals believe they can control events in their lives

Majority influence

Alternative term for conformity

Milgram paradigm

Experimental procedure for measuring obedience rates

Minority influence

Where a individual or small group influence attitudes and behaviour of a larger group


Decisions and behaviour based upon the perception of proper conduct


Complying with the demands of an authority figure


Combination of characteristics that forms an individual's distinctive nature


Occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away his or her choices or limiting the range of alternatives

Situational variables

Features of an environment that affect the degree to which individuals yield to group pressures

Social change

The process by which attitudes, beliefs and norms of acceptable behaviour vary over time

Social roles

The parts individuals play as part of a social group

Social support

Perception of assistance and solidarity available from others


The position of an individual within a hierarchical group

Systematic processing

Analysis based on critical thinking


Complete agreement from a group of people about an issue or question

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