Social Influence Theory of Hypnosis: History, Definition and Meaning

What is the definition of social influence theory?

According to Kelman (1958), the core idea of social influence theory is that referent individuals influence an individual’s attitudes and beliefs. Along with subsequent actions or behaviors through three processes: compliance, identification, and internalization.

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The theory explained in a nutshell

Kelman proposed that social influence causes changes in attitude and behavior and that these changes might occur at many “levels.” This disparity in change levels can be ascribed to variances in the processes by which individuals accept influence. Kelman (1958) identified three basic influence processes, which are detailed below:

Compliance is thought to occur when people accept influence and adopt the induced behavior to receive rewards (or approval) and avoid punishment (or disapproval). As a result, pleasure from compliance is related to the social effect of accepting influence.

Individuals are said to identify when they adopt the induced behavior to develop or sustain a desired and advantageous relationship with another person or group. As a result, contentment happens due to “the act of conforming.” 

Internalization is thought to occur when individuals accept influence after viewing the induced behavior’s content as rewarding, and the content reflects the opinions and actions of others. It is also argued that individuals accept induced behavior because they recognize that it is consistent with their value system. In this situation, satisfaction results from the content of the new behavior.

Each of the three processes can be represented by a function of the three influence determinants listed below: (a) the relative relevance of the expected effect, (b) the relative power of the influencing agent, and (c) the potency of the induced response (Kelman 1958). These determinants, however, are qualitatively different for each activity. As a result, each process has a separate set of antecedent conditions, resulting in a distinct set of following conditions.

Because social influence can alter an individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and actions, social influence on information system (IS) acceptability and utilization has received considerable attention. However, it is argued that the original theory on IS adoption and use considers the standpoint of social normative compliance. Hence ignoring the identification and internalization processes of social influence (Malhotra and Galletta 2005).

It is argued that the subjective norm is the dominant conceptualization of social influence. It is typically operationalized to emphasize compliance (Wang et al. 2013). Several behavioral theories, including the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and the theory of reasoned action (TRA), hypothesize subjective norms (Ajzen 1991; Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). Subjective norms associated with technology emerge in various IS-specific models, including TAM2 and UTAUT (Venkatesh and Davis 2000; Venkatesh et al. 2003).

Recognizing that only one aspect of social influence, compliance, may not predict the true relationship between system users’ beliefs and behavior and IS use. Other researchers attempt to bring the perspectives of all three social influence processes together to provide an integrated impact of them (Malhotra and Galletta 2005; Wang et al. 2013).

They anticipate that the effect of compliance-based social influence will fade over time. In contrast, the impact of identification and internalization will last longer. As a result, research that theorizes all three mechanisms of social influence shows that social influence can vary dramatically between groups in organizations (Wang et al., 2013). Such an approach aids in understanding how system users’ own views and judgments influence their commitment to accept and use technology. And supplementing earlier research that focuses on how system users comply and conform to the opinions of salient individuals.

What is the social influence theory’s explanation for hypnosis?

Hypnosis, according to social influence theory, is a social phenomenon. According to proponents of the social influence hypothesis of hypnosis, hypnotized subjects are caught up in playing the part of the hypnotic subject for the hypnotist.

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