Psychological Self-Help

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can be thought of as a "jump on the band wagon" effect or "go along
with the majority" effect. However, we do not yet know under what
conditions private opinions are actually changed, if they are, in these
more complex situations. Perhaps as we learn more about a certain
opinion and argue for it, we come to believe it more. Perhaps we just
don't want to make waves. Perhaps we "know which side of our bread
is buttered." It's all compliance. 
There are other specific conditions in which we tend to comply with
direct requests. For instance, once we have granted one request, we
are more likely to comply with another request. So a salesperson will
make a small request first: "May I ask you a few questions?" and "May
we sit down?" Finally, "May I order you one?" This is called the "foot in
the door" technique. Another approach is the "door in the face"
technique: first, someone makes a very large request of you and you
say "no" (that's the door in the face). They graciously accept your
refusal and then a few days or weeks later the same person
approaches you with a much more modest request. You are more
likely to comply this time than if you had never been approached.
Thirdly, there is the old "low ball" technique: first, get a person to
agree to some unusually good deal, then change the conditions and
the person will still agree to the new conditions. For example, a car
salesperson might offer you a fantastic deal or a teacher might request
some help. Once you agree, then the sales person "discovers" a
mistake and raises the price or the teacher tells you it's a dirty job at
7:00 AM, but you still go through with the agreement. 
Deaux and Wrightsman (1984) summarized the research that
shows independent people are more intellectually able, more capable
leaders, more mature, more self-controlled, and more self-confident.
Conforming people are self-critical, have lower self-esteem, and have
stronger needs to interact with others socially. Don't get suckered into
bad deals. 
Obedience to authority
The most impressive and appalling studies in this area were done
by Stanley Milgram (1974). They are famous studies. Milgram's intent
was to see how much harm ordinary people would do to another
person if directed and urged to do so by an authority (a psychologist
asking them to shock a person when he/she gave a wrong answer in a
learning experiment). Actually, no one was shocked but the subjects
obviously believed they were hurting another participant in the
experiment. The shock was to be increased with every mistake. To do
this there were 30 switches at 15-volt intervals labeled as follows:
Slight shock (15-60 volts), Moderate shock (75-120 volts), etc. on up
to Extreme-intensity shock (315-360 volts), DANGER--severe shock
(375-420 volts), and XXX (435-450 volts). Most of us would assume
that our friends and relatives wouldn't do such a mean, dangerous
thing. Certainly, we wouldn't. Especially if the person being shocked in
the next room started moaning (at 75 volts) and then yelling, "Hey,
that really hurts" (at 120 volts) and then at 150 volts, "Experimenter,
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