Social Influences on Behavior Essay

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Social Influences on Behavior Rhonda Hager PSY/300 June 25, 2012 Teresa Neal Social Influences on Behavior Introduction All humans’ behavior is affected by social influences to some extent. The level of influence will vary from person to person, depending on the several factors, such as self-esteem, their level of self-awareness, morals, and values (Velden, 2007). People do many things to ensure they are accepted by the people in their group and to keep from being ostracized by individuals around them (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Individuals are usually guided by their own sense of what is right or wrong and will make logical decisions based on this. However, they will sometimes completely push their own individual identity…show more content…
This type of group mentality is referred to as “groupthink.” Group think, a concept discovered by Irving Janis, is the thought process that takes place among members of a cohesive group wherein they cease to consider their individual desires and instead respond according to group beliefs. This is done to ensure the solidity of the group. The members value this even more than their own views. Obedience Another form of social influence is obedience. Obedience occurs when an individual acts in response to an order by a person in authority whether that order goes against what they know to be right or not. This can be done to gain acceptance or to avoid punishment. Obedience accounts for a large amount of the medication errors that happen in hospitals each day. An example of this is a nurse following a doctor’s order even when the doctor’s orders go against her professional obligations. This was demonstrated in an experiment conducted by C. Hofling. In Hofling’s experiment 22 nurses who worked at a hospital were contacted by a staff doctor that they did not know. They were told to give twice the highest dose of a drug to his patient. If the nurses did what they were told they would be going against three different rules. First, they were not to accept doctor’s orders over the phone. Second, the dose called for by the doctor was double the maximum for that drug. Third, the medication was not on their authorized list of medications. Of the 22 nurses 21
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