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21.1: Introduction

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    The typical outcome of social influence is that our beliefs and behaviors become more similar to those of others around us. At times this change occurs in a spontaneous and automatic sense, without any obvious intent of one person to change the other. Perhaps you learned to like jazz or rap music because your roommate was playing a lot of it. You didn’t really want to like the music, and your roommate didn’t force it on you—your preferences changed in a passive way. Robert Cialdini and his colleagues (1990) found that col- lege students were more likely to throw litter on the ground when they had just seen another person throw some paper on the ground and were least likely to litter when they had just seen another person pick up and throw paper into a trash can. The researchers interpreted this as a kind of sponta- neous conformity—a tendency to follow the behavior of oth- ers, often entirely out of our awareness. Even our emotional states become more similar to those we spend more time with (Anderson et al., 2003).

    This page titled 21.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kate Votaw.

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