Sample Exam Questions for "Social Influence"

Last updated:
06 Nov 2005


  1. What is the difference between social influence and persuasion?
  2. What are the differences between conformity, compliance and obedience?
  3. What social psychological factors play a role in determining whether a person conforms, complies and obeys?
  4. Describe and explain the main findings from Asch's classic studies on conformity.
  5. Describe and explain the main findings from Milgram's classic studies on obedience.
  6. Describe and explain the main findings from Zimbardo's classic prison experiment.
  7. Why do people tend to obey authorities?
  8. What individual factors contribute to whether or not someone is influenced by social factors?

Multiple choice

Asch's research dealing with conformity in a group pressure situation indicated than people accept the opinion of others:

a. only when there is no clearly right or wrong opinion
b. even when they believe the others are wrong
c. only when there is no basis for holding an opinion
d. only when the others seems to be well informed
e. both c and d

Asch noted in his group-pressure study that a single non-conforming confederate can dramatically lower the conformity rate of a ‘true’ participant. This effect can now be seen as a precursor to later research into:

a. reference groups
b. minority influence
c. outgroups
d. obedience to authority
e. compliance

The participants in Milgram's study of obedience to authority were less likely to obey orders:

a. when they were physically close to the victim
b. when the order was given over a telephone
c. when the setting was at a respected university
d. both a and b
e. both b and c

_________________________ has not been shown to enhance the degree of obedience in subjects in the Milgram studies.

a. the closeness of an authority figure to the subject
b. the legitimacy of the authority
c. the closeness of the victim to the subject
d. the amount of social support for the obedience

In Milgram’s obedience studies obedience decreased when the authority figure __________ rather than __________:

a. was in another room; immediately present
b. wore a lab coat; spoke coldly
c. was warm and friendly; relayed the instructions by phone
d. was from Yale; from Princeton
e. was immediately present; in another room

The participants in Milgram's study of obedience to authority were less likely to obey orders:

a. when they were physically close to the victim
b. when the order was given over a telephone
c. when the setting was at a respected university
d. both a and b
e. both b and c

One way to make people resistant to persuasion is to provide them with a diluted counter-argument. This technique is know as:

a. reactance
b. forewarning
c. inoculation
d. dissonance
e. induced compliance


Which of the following audiences are more easily persuaded?

a. people with low self-esteem
b. people with moderate self-esteem
c. people with high self-esteem
d. people in bad moods
e. older people

Factors that have an influence on conformity include:

a. the situation
b. self-esteem
c. the cultural background
d. all of the above
e. none of the above

Gregory and Webster (1996) studied the voice behaviour of people interviewed on Larry King Live.  Larry (the interviewer) changed his voice to match people such as __________ but did not change his voice when interviewing people such as __________.

a. Bill Clinton; Barbara Streisand
b. Bill Clinton; Hilary Clinton
c. Barbara Streisand; Bill Clinton
d. Hilary Clinton; Bill Clinton

In studies which have examined obedience of nurses to doctors, ______ % of nurses admitted administering what they believed to be wrong dosages to patients and attributing this to the authority of the doctors.  In an experimental study ______ % of nurses complied with an unknown doctor's request to administer double the safe dosage.

a. 24; 88
b. 24; 95
c. 90; 30
d. 46; 95

Kenrick and Neuberg (2005) explain two powerful principles which underlie the mechanisms of social influence.  They are:

i. authority
ii. social validation
iii. obediance
iv. compliance

a. i and iv
b. i and ii
c. ii and iii
d. iii and iv

In a study by Schultz (1999), residents of a Los Angeles suburb received information ___________. This produced an immediate increase in the amount of material the residents recycled. This increase was greater than for suburbs who only received a plea to recycle and the behaviors had lasted at a 3 month followup.

a. explaining the connection between recycling and the environment
b. describing regular curbside recycling behavior of many of their neighbors
c. that households who recycle will be placed in a draw for a major prize
d. from a well-known local personality explaining how recycling benefits the community

To examine how ___________ and the desire for accuracy can interact, Baron, Vandello, and Brunsman (1996) created a variation of the Asch line-judging procedure. Instead of choosing correct line lengths, participants had to choose the correct suspect in criminal lineups. They saw a picture of a single criminal suspect. Then, they saw a picture of a lineup containing four suspects, including the one they had previously seen. Their task to pick out of the lineup the previously seen suspect. This was repeated 13 times with 13 different pairs of pictures. To make accuracy especially important for group of students, the researchers promised a $20 prize to those who made the correct choices. There were two experimental conditions. In one, the pictures were each shown for 1/2 second and in the other each picture was shown for 4 seconds.

a. time constraints
b. facial recognition
c. eyewitness testimony
d. uncertainty
e. none of the above

Schachter (1951) observed how groups pressure members who deviate from the consensus.  In newly formed discussion groups, Schachter planted a confederate who asserted an opinion different from other members. The confederate was a deviate and argued heatedly. In some cases he persisted in being deviate and was eventually rejected by the group. In other cases, the deviate gradually complied with the group norms. In these latter cases, the deviate was eventually:
a. somewhat, but not fully accepted the group
b. marginally accepted by the group
c. fully accepted by the group
d. not only accepted, but the former deviate became treated as a group leader

A boy scout ask you if he can paint your house for $1000. When you say no he asks you if he can mow your lawn for $30. This is an example of the compliance tactic known as _______________________

a. door-in-the-face
b. foot-in-the-door
c. low-ball
d. ingratiation
e. substantiation

You want to buy a fabulous pair of shoes that are on sale. When you get to the store, they are sold out but there’s an almost identical pair available- unfortunately they cost $50more. This is an example of the compliance tactic known as _______________________

a. door-in-the-face
b. foot-in-the-door
c. low-ball
d. ingratiation
e. forcing the issue

A daughter tells her Mum how nice she looks today before asking to borrow her car for the evening. This is an example of the compliance tactic known as _______________________

a. door-in-the-face
b. foot-in-the-door
c. low-ball
d. ingratiation
e. veiled threat

Erin asked her father to take her to the Lord of the Rings movie. Since she is only eight years old, she knows her father will refuse. But what she really wants is permission to watch a special TV program later that night. Erin is using a tactic know as:

a. the foot-in-the-door
b. the low-ball
c. the door-in-the-face
d. that’s not all
e. ingratiation

Being offered free food samples in a supermarket is NOT an example of which influence technique:

a. that's-not-all / foot-in-the-door
b. norm of reciprocity
c. norm of obligation
d. reciprocal concessions
e. door-in-the-face

If Barbara was using the low-ball tactic to influence Tony, she would:

a. change the rules to which Tony had earlier agreed
b. first get Tony to agree to perform a large request and then make a small request of him
c. not actually use a large request but break it up into several smaller requests
d. get Tony to agree to perform a small request and then make a large request of him
e. try to get Tony to like her before making a request.

 What individual factors influence whether someone is influenced by social factors?

i. desire for social approval
ii. collective sense of self
iii. degree to which the person identifies with the group
iv. self-esteem

a. i, ii, and iii
b. ii, iii and iv
c. i, ii, and iv
d. i, ii, iii and iv
e. iii and iv

Stacy et al (1992) investigated several possible factors that might reduce high school students' vulnerability to peer norms for cigarette smoking. Only one proved effective:

a. self-efficacy for resisting peer influence
b. self-confidence
c. communication skills
d. physical attractiveness
e. parents' assertiveness

Someone using the _____________ technique first gets a commitment from another by offering a good deal, then-after the commitment is obtained raises the cost of completing the deal

a. high-ball
b. low-ball
c. foot-in-the-door
d. door-in-the-face
e. foot-in-the-mouth

The bait-and-switch influence method uses ____________ to help lure.

a. advertising
b. free products
c. attractive people
d. experts
e. commitment

A coach picks a private moment to say to a young, talented player (who she knows hasn't been doing her individual training), "You seem to have been working hard, Sarah, I think your technique is not far off really coming together.  If you keep up being one of the hard working players I think you're going to make the team".  This is an example of using the __________ influence technique.

a. false promise
b. labelling
c. unintentional
d. bait-and-switch
e. facilitative

Deutsch and Gerard (1955) performed an experiment in which subjects estimated the lengths of lines in an Asch-type procedure. One group kept the length judgments in their minds, a second briefly wrote down their estimates, and a third group wrote down their estimates and handed them to the experimenter. When then asked to guess which line was the longest, the _____ group was most easily influenced by other group members, the ______ group was the second most easily influenced by other group members and the ______ group was the least easily influenced by other group members.

a. 1st, 2nd, 3rd
b. 1st, 3rd, 2nd
c. 2nd, 1st, 3rd
d. 2nd, 3rd, 1st
e. 3rd, 1st, 2nd

Which of the following factors reduce a person's likelihood of conforming?

i. female
ii. role playing a non-conformist
iii. knowledge about topic
iv. individualistic culture

a. i, ii, iii
b. ii, iii, iv
c. iii, iv
d. i, iii, iv

Commitments are most effective as a source of social influence when they are made:

i. publicly
ii. actively
iii. with free choice
iv. in response to small incentives
v. in response to large incentives

a. i, ii, iii
b. i, ii, iii, iv
c. i, ii, iii, v
d. iii