Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Down it Fresher...

If you are part of a sports club, you will know all too well that every Wednesday evening is Pop. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is a social event at the SU where sports clubs sit in a circle and play drinking games. Ultimately, if you aren’t very good at these games or your social sec wants to pick on you, you will be drunk by the end of the night. I have been subjected to “downing a pint” and complying with the social sec orders, even when I know in my head that it’s probably a bad idea. Why is this?

The presence of an audience can increase concerns for maintaining a positive public image, this often results in increased compliance with a request that is seen as socially acceptable. This technique of persuasion was demonstrated in Rind and Benjamin’s (1994) study in which a confederate approached a male shopper, who was either alone or accompanied by a female, and asked him to purchase some raffle tickets. The presence of the female shopper was predicted to heighten the accompanying male’s concern about his public image.

Number of tickets brought

Lone Male
Male with Female

A significant effect for social situation was found, such that male shoppers who were accompanied by female agreed to buy more raffle tickets than the lone male shoppers. As can be seen in the table above, the average purchase of lone male shoppers was 1.06 raffle tickets, whereas this increased to 2.00 tickets for male shoppers who were accompanied by females. This suggests that concerns about public image effects compliance.  

Thus, relating it back to circling at pop, when the social sec deems it appropriate for you to “down a pint” because you have messed up at a game or just because they want to pick on you (as social sec they have this socially accepted power). Most people will attempt and succeed to down a pint even if they don’t really want to. This is due to presence of a public audience (the rest of their sports club) to who the individual wants to give off a positive public image. Therefore, individuals are influenced to comply with this act in order to avoid being mocked and to ‘save face’.

Benjamin, D., & Rind, B. (1994). Effects of public image concerns and self image on compliance. The Journal of Social Psychology, 134 (1), 19-25. 

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