UBC Theses and Dissertations
The differential effect of value structure upon susceptibility to influence Auger, Jeanette A.
Statement of Problem The two main theoretical questions being asked are« 1) Does the degree of articulatedness of value structure differentiate susceptibility to influence? 2) Can we determine the degree of articulatedness of value structure and thereby predict susceptibility to influence? Methods Utilizing the working theory proposed by Dr. R.A.H. Robson, a hypothesis was formulated and tested through the use of a questionnaire and a set of small group laboratory experiments. The theory suggests the following: Uncertainty is seen by some people as a negative trait and therefore as something to be avoided. Therefore, such persons will act in ways which minimize uncertainty. Giving up previously-held positions or values is one cause of uncertainty. Therefore, rather than risk uncertainty, such persons will maintain previously-held positions or values as much as possible. Thus, given a similar amount of pressure to change, those persons who have to give up fewer positions will be more susceptible to influence than those persons who have to give up more positions. In order to test the utility of the theory, a hypothesis was formulated which predicted that persons with a more well-articulated value structure would be less susceptible to influence than persons with a less well-articulated value structure. In order to test the hypothesis, a series of laboratory experiments were designed in which pressure to change their opinions was directed towards naive subjects by three confederates. Conclusions The results of the experiments suggest that persons who hold more well-articulated value structures are less susceptible to influence than those persons who hold less well-articulated value structures, with respect to specific topics of discussion in which pressure to change their opinions is directed towards them.
Item Citations and Data