Blueprint MCAT Full-Length 1: Psych/Soc Passage 10 – Influence

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MP 241: Blueprint MCAT Full-Length 1: Psych/Soc Passage 10 - Influence

Session 241

We’re on the last psych/soc passage in Blueprint MCAT Full-Length 1 and are discussing social influence, conflict, conformity, and persuasion.

We’re joined by Dorothy from Blueprint MCAT. If you would like to follow along on YouTube, go to

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[02:43] Passage 10 (Questions 53 – 56)

Paragraph 1

Behavior is often defined as a function of the individual and their environment, with both the individual influencing his environment and the environment influencing the individual. Behavior may be influenced through the environment directly or indirectly via local attitudes and beliefs. Individuals tend to emulate the beliefs, attitudes, and behavior of the majority of their social group. This occurs primarily through compliance, internalization, and identification.


We’re essentially talking about how behavior can be altered by the environment. Things you could highlight are also highlighted in bold above.

[03:41] Paragraph 2

While individuals tend to follow majority views, minority groups are able to influence others through a process called minority influence. Research has shown that minority influence is likely to occur if an individual views the minority group as an in-group. Additional factors which dispose individuals to following minority influence include the minority group having a message that is clear, consistent, flexible and in accordance with current social trends.


This paragraph introduces minority influence. You could highlight the in-group piece, which means people within their in-group are more likely to be influenced. Essentially, it’s saying that if the messaging is a long social trend, it might be more influential.

[04:48] Paragraph 3

To investigate minority influence, researchers recruited 360 participants and split them into groups of 12 to serve in a mock jury deciding guilt or innocence of a defendant. For all 30 trials the mock jury of 12 participants were each secretly assigned the role of the minority juror (1) or majority juror (11) and placed in a room together. Minority assignees were instructed to attempt to convince the entire group of their position. In trials 1-10, 0 participants who were assigned the role of majority juror were told to defect to the minority view if no majority member had changed sides after 1 hour. In trials 11-20 this number was increased to 1 and in trials 21-30 the number of majority assignees was increased to 2. The results of the study indicated that having specific arguments for the minority member and the number of defecting majority jurors was strongly correlated (r = 0.67, p < 0.01) with group defection to the minority position.


We’re talking about the experiment, how it was set up, and some results in that last sentence there. Things to highlight: the role of the minority juror or majority juror.

Things to highlight: the role of the minority juror or majority juror. So they’re one winner minority ger, and there’s 11 majority jurors. And their goal is as a minority to attempt to convince the entire group of their position.

[07:31] Question 53

Through what form of social influence are new ideas most likely spread?

  1. Compliance
  2. Identification
  3. Internalization
  4. Minority influence

Thought Process:

D – By default, when you have a new idea, it starts out as a minority idea or a minority opinion. Then the idea can start to be spread through the influence of the minority if they can convince people to adopt that new idea. So this is the correct answer.

Identification is when we identify with someone or something. A good example is when you like a celebrity and so you have some stuff with the face of the celebrity on them, or maybe you’re also following their hairstyle.

Correct Answer: D

[10:51]  Question 54

Question 54

What type of conflict are the jurors in the study likely experiencing if they are unsure of the defendant’s guilt?

  1. Approach-approach conflict
  2. Avoidant-avoidant conflict
  3. Approach-avoidant conflict
  4. Double approach-avoidant conflict

Thought Process:

Avoidance versus approach is when there’s a conflict in making a decision and there are different combinations of good and bad options. In general, think of approach as a good thing, like you would want to approach or address a certain situation. All avoidance is a bad thing because you want to avoid addressing that situation.

A – Approach-approach conflict is when you’re choosing between two things. You have two good options where you’d be fine approaching both of them. And you’re just weighing out which one you would most likely to approach. In this case, we’re not really choosing between two good options. We’re just choosing between guilty or not guilty. So this is not the correct answer.

B – Avoidant-avoidant conflict is when there are two bad decisions, and you’re trying to weigh out which one is a little less bad. So this is not the answer here either.

C – Approach-avoidant conflict is one decision and it has pros and cons.

D – Double approach-avoidant conflict is you have two options and both have pros or cons. In the case, it is a double approach-avoidant conflict because you have guilty and not guilty, but both have pros and cons. Both options have an element of approach and avoidance, which means it’s a double pressure point.

Correct Answer: D

[14:47] Question 55

In what way did the passage study depart from Asch’s line experiment study of conformity?

  1. There were varying numbers of people conforming in the study.
  2. There were reasons provided for having one’s view in the study.
  3. Participants made decisions in groups in the study.
  4. Participants in the study varied in status.

Thought Process:

Asch’s line experiment is you draw a reference line of about five centimeters. Then you give someone a sheet of paper that’s like a four centimeter line and a six centimeter line and a five centimeter line. Then which one is the same length as the reference one.

And essentially, you can just put confederates in the room with an actual participant. Confederates are part of the research team, but they’re posing as actual participants. So you’ll have people in there that are going to say the wrong answer.

Then the person supposed to be there for our participant might be swayed by the people who seem so sure that the wrong line is the right line. And so they might be convinced to agree even though it’s obviously not correct.

Looking at the answer choices:

A and C- They are not departing from the study so they’re not going to be swayed.

B – The confederates would be very confident, but they wouldn’t explain why, versus here you have actual arguments and people trying to sway people to the other side through a logical discourse. So there are reasons provided in this actual passage study.

D – Status wasn’t mentioned so we get rid of this. They just want to see if people will agree with an obviously wrong answer.

Correct Answer: B

[20:03] Question 56

According to Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion, which of the following would NOT be a way that a minority juror could increase the likelihood of persuading a majority juror?

  1. Providing a favor to the other juror
  2. Being likeable
  3. Conveying the impression of scarcity of one’s opinion
  4. Obtaining a written commitment of agreement from a juror

Thought Process:

Scarcity is one of the principles, which is more like a limited edition kind of thing. And so, answer choice C is tempting because scarcity is one of them, but it’s not applied in this way.

The other answer choices are according to the principles of persuasion which are reciprocity (answer choice A), likeability (answer choice B), commitment (answer choice D), consistency, and consensus.

'Likeability and consensus – we use those words, but they actually have specific definitions as defined within psychology and sociology.'Click To Tweet

Correct Answer: C


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