Social influences | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy

Social influences | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy

Voiceover: All right, let’s
dive right into the last topic that we’re gonna look at under
self-identity. So in this video we’re going to take a
look at how imitation, roles, reference groups, and
culture are all parts of social influence. And this falls under the branch of social
psychology. So social influence is a major topic in
social psychology, and it looks at how individual thoughts, actions, and feelings are influenced by social
groups. So here’s our individual, and these houses
represent the social groups or society in which the
individual interacts. So imitation is the first topic that we’re
gonna look at. And imitation is referred to, or is a type
of individual social influence. So, let’s just write imitation in here. Imitation is basically one of the most
basic forms of social behavior. It’s when we’re copying someone else. And it begins with an understanding that there’s a difference between others and
ourselves. So other psychologists have argued that
this understanding in difference between ourselves, our own bodies and
others, doesn’t occur until a few months or maybe even a few years
into childhood, while other theorists say it
happens once we are born. Now in 1977, one man named Andrew Meltzoff
published a study that questioned the theory that said an understanding between
self and others happens a few months after
birth. So picture yourself playing with a tiny
baby. Let’s draw a tiny baby down here. So picture yourself playing with him or
her, and picture, and now to be more specific the baby’s between 12
and 21 days old. Okay, so now stick out your tongue at the
baby. What happens? Well, I’m sure the baby copied you and
stuck out their tongue. That’s the experiment that Meltzoff did,
and he found that babies were really imitating
the experimenter. So there was this connection, this
imitation between individuals. So, the baby was really sticking out their tongue versus opening their mouth for some
other reason. So here’s the next question. Was this true imitation or was it something that can’t be considered social
interaction. Well, now picture yourself playing with
the baby again. This time imagine yourself opening your
mouth. What does the baby do? Well the baby should also open their
mouth. They don’t stick out their tongue this
time. So by this situation we know the baby wasn’t getting excited just by our
presence. So Meltzoff had to ensure that this
imitation wasn’t a reflex either or just the baby being
conditioned by our presence. So when the baby had a pacifier in their mouth while the experimenter stuck
out their tongue, the baby still imitated them after
the pacifier was taken out a short time later. And the last condition in this experiment
was that the experimenter’s facial expressions had
to be blank during the time the baby was responding, because the subtle
differences had to be controlled just in case to be sure that true imitation was
actually occurring. So we’ve even seen this, numerous studies numerous experiments have been replicated
many, many times and we’ve even seen this in baby monkeys
that are also social species just like us. So from very early on, like I said, between 12 and 21 days of age, these
babies have a concept of themselves, of their own
bodies in relation to others and can copy other
people. So basically this suggests that we are
born with a built in capacity to imitate
others. So much of what we learn early on is from
each other. It suggests a built in social mechanism
which is critical for our species. So I’m not going to get too much into
detail on this next word I’m gonna bring up called mirror neurons cuz it’s
much more physiological but these mirror neurons have also fascinated
scientists, because basically, what they do is, when one fires, when we
act, another is fired when we observe the same action
performed by another person. So essentially these neurons are mirroring
the behavior of the other. And they have been found in areas of our
brain such as the somatosensory cortex and the motor and premotor cortex so they can be helpful in understanding
imitation further. The next individual aspect of social
influence is the importance of roles. So we all have many roles in our life. Through, and we can represent this,
through sll the different hats we probably wear. Maybe we’re a brother, a sister, a doctor,
or teacher, a friend, a social worker,
whatever it may be. We have different roles. We don’t usually, we don’t just have one
role. Indepen, and they define who we are and
what we do. So if each social role, we adopt different
behavior changes to fit the expectation that both we and others, the other part is
very important, have of that role. So maybe another word you’ve heard that’s
more familiar, is the term social norm. So social norms are the accepted standards
of behavior of social groups. There are norms defining appropriate
behavior for every social group. And as an individual moves from one to the
next to the next, their behavior’s also going
to change accordingly. So, norms are really important because
they provide order in society. And we use it to guide and direct our
behavior as appropriate. So we conform to the expectations of
others, we respond to their approval when we play our role as
well. So it’s like a big thumbs up. And then we have we get the disapproval from others when we perform our roles
badly. So the presence of these others, these
other people, who can fall under these different houses
over here. So the presence of these other people seem to also make a difference in setting up
expectations. Now we don’t expect people to behave
randomly and just do random things, but to behave in a certain way, in a certain
situation that fits that role. And usually, we have these expectation
even more when the roles are strongly
stereotyped. So there was this famous experiment done, called the Philip Zimbardo Stanford prison
experiment, sorry. And it’s actually highly controversial,
but it explains this role of roles for a lack of a better role,
term. It explains this concept of social roles a
lot better. So here’s the prison. So in this example, being in a prison
environment caused the participants who are role playing as
guards in this study to be a lot more or, authoritative, sadistic,
and even they felt they had the power to do what they wanted
to the prisoners. Very vulgar things. They just felt they had that power due to
their role. And the people playing the prisoners began to feel submissive, timid, scared towards
the guards. And they even would suck up to the guards. By tattletaling on the other prisoners as
a result of the role playing. So these were the expectations of the
prisoners or the expectations they thought they had, and so they tried fulfilling
those roles for approval by the guards. Now this prison environment was an
important factor in creating the guards brutal behavior as
well. So you see that interaction between the
environment already and an individual. Now none of the participants who acted as guards showed these sadistic tendencies
before the study. So that just shows how roles can play an important part in our behaviors and
attitudes. Now moving on toward group influence, we
have a term called reference groups. Now reference groups, you may have heard
of them as well, is a term from social psychology identifying the group to
which people refer or make reference in
evaluating themselves. So, it’s any group to which we can go to,
our person refers to through the group’s beliefs or their attitudes or
their behaviors. So we are constantly looking for these
external groups that align with our own beliefs, attitudes
and behaviors. And we’re going to refer to them when we
want to form or make a decision to influence our own
beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. So for example, someone may refer to a
social science students reference group when we’re trying to decide what
political party to vote for, during an election. Another could be referring to a feminist’s
reference group when we’re deciding whether or not to change our name after
marriage if you’re female. So why are these reference groups
important? Well, any person or group that serves as a
point of comparison for an individual, and the formation of general or specific
values influences our social decisions. So have you ever gone shopping for a gift
or out to buy a new car? You’re gonna bring your reference group
with you. What I mean by this is not a whole posse
of people. You may, you may bring someone that you
look up to, like a parent, to ask for advice. But, subconsciously we have these
attitudes and beliefs formed, and it’s where we seek to get this advice or
to satisfy the expectations of others, to be
like someone we admire or to get some sort of approval, to
some degree. So these reference groups at some level of
aspiration. So, we can just write that to remember. And the last but not least part of cul, social influence is called culture
and socialization. And we couldn’t, this seems like a very
broad concept, which it is. But basically, we can refer to the
sociocultural theory to help explain the influence that those around us have on our
development on a broader scale. So it looks at the important contributions
that society, these houses, these people around us, make to
this individual development. It emphasizes the interaction between
developing people and the culture in which we live. So, all of these interactions are
important, whether it’s between individuals or a group of people, whatever
it may be. Our parents, our peers, our neighbors,
teachers, coworkers, they all influence our social identity development, and on an
even larger scale, the country in which we live, the language,
the communities in which we live, the attitudes and values of the
groups we belong to. They all affect our behaviors in learning
as individuals in this large social.


  1. Post
  2. Post
    Sally Cinnamon

    The chewing sounds are so distracting, I couldn't actually finish watching the video! I appreciate you trying to provide helpful information but please can you avoid chewing gum during the next videos.

  3. Post
  4. Post
    Caroline Murray

    This is really interesting! You explain it in a simplified way, thank you! Its helping me to construct my essay in an easier way 😀👍

  5. Post
  6. Post
    Nimna Mendis

    network composed of dynamic individuals on their own and as integral pieces of larger groups, societies, and cultures.

  7. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *