The Influence of Peers
“If Johnny jumps off a cliff are you going to jump, too”? This is a cliché used often by parents wanting to convince their children that doing what “everyone else does” is not always a good idea.
For example, binge drinking is an increasing problem on college campuses, often with dire consequences (e.g., alcohol poisoning, unprotected sex, expulsion from school). Given the consequences, one wonders what compels college students to engage in such risky behavior. We know that fitting in—being accepted by others—is a primary motive for doing what others do. In this case, conforming to one’s referent group’s norms (i.e., getting drunk is cool) gains one’s acceptance to that group (Talbott, Wilkinson, Moore, & Usdan, 2014; Wardell & Read, 2013). Refusal to comply means rejection by the group.
Binge drinking, clearly, is not in the best interest of individual college students, unless you consider the importance of belonging to and acceptance by the group.
For this Discussion, you explore persuasion strategies with respect to the effects of peer influence on behavior.
Talbott, L. L., Wilkinson, L. L., Moore, C. G., & Usdan, S. L. (2014). The role of injunctive norms and alcohol use during the first-semester of college. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 58(1), 60–81.
Wardell, J. D., & Read, J. P. (2013). Alcohol expectancies, perceived norms, and drinking behavior among college students: Examining the reciprocal determinism hypothesis. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(1),
• Review the Learning Resources for this week and examine how social psychology theory and research explain the effects of peer influence on behavior.
• Consider persuasion strategies that a social psychologist might use to convince someone to defy peer pressure.
By Day 3
Post an explanation for how you might persuade someone to “do what is in her or his best interest” when it means defying group demands. Use social psychology theory and research to support your persuasion strategy.
By Day 5
Respond to at least two colleague and explain whether or not you found your colleague’s response persuasive and why. Support your explanation with social psychology theory and research.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the social psychology theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or Internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your post and responses. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.
Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained as a result of your colleagues’ comments.