When it comes to an individual who succumbs to someone else’s lies, it is important to note that in such cases it is an extrinsic perception that impacts and individual’s intrinsic view and, as such, it would be necessary to implement such a strategy as a means of moderation or mediation to resolve it (Hayenga & Corpus, 2010). For example, there can be the case of a woman that was lied to by her supposedly “faithful” husband when in reality he had cheated on her multiple times.
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In such cases the woman would normally be distraught and find it difficult to find sufficient intrinsic motivating factors to get out of her slump/depression. As such, it would be necessary to utilize some form extrinsic motivation to convince her to carry on with her life. This can come in the form of focusing on her children, career or other such external motivating strategies (Joosten, Bundy & Einfeld, 2009).
Social influences have the potential to create both positive and negative outcomes based on the ethos behind their creation. What must be understood is that Ethos refers to the way in which a person portrays themselves in an argument, in a sense that it is a method in which persuaders present an “image” to people that they are attempting to persuade (Stirling & Felin, 2013).
This particular “image” refers to a persuaders “character” in the sense that a person is attempting to persuade another person of the righteousness of their statements based on their inherent character. Through the work of Mcshane, Bradlow & Berger (2012), it can be seen that social influences utilize a variety of ethos as a means of justifying their intended outcomes.
Normally, such ethoses are presented in such a way that they appeal to a wide audience and focus on a specific trait or idea that people can rally behind. In certain cases it may even be utilized as a means of explaining a problem by showcasing how it started in the first place. Such instances can be seen in the case of numerous anti-immigration polices around the world wherein the blame for high rates of unemployment are placed on them despite the true cause being a sagging economy.
However, people are all too ready to accept such a social influence since it enables them to direct their ire against an immediate and feasible outlet instead of an abstract and hard to understand concept (i.e. economic activity). It is in the way that social influences are packaged and presented to the public under varying types of ethos that changes the perception of the public to the idea that is being presented.
The method in which the idea is “packaged” drastically changes the perception of the audience towards accepting the idea itself or the validity of its statements (Stirling & Felin, 2013). While the previous example shows the adverse potential of social influences, it should also be noted that ethos can be utilized to promote righteous causes.
For example, the current environmental conservation movement is a type of social influence that was brought about by the ethos of the need to protect the environment for future generations. Such a social influence has resulted in a gradual change in societal perceptions regarding proper utilization of renewable and nonrenewable resources. The end resulting has been a positive social influence which has preserved the environment for future generations.
When taking both factors into consideration, it can be seen that while social influences do have the potential to create negative ramifications in society, they can also act as a means of positive social behavior. This all depends on the type of ethos that is at the core of the societal influence that is being implemented.
Hayenga, A., & Corpus, J. (2010). Profiles of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: A person-centered approach to motivation and achievement in middle school. Motivation & Emotion, 34(4), 371-383.
Joosten, A., Bundy, A., & Einfeld, S. (2009). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation for Stereotypic and Repetitive Behavior. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 39(3), 521-531.
Mcshane, B., Bradlow, E., & Berger, J. (2012). Visual Influence and Social Groups. Journal Of Marketing Research (JMR), 49(6), 854-871.
Stirling, W. C., & Felin, T. (2013). Game Theory, Conditional Preferences, and Social Influence. Plos ONE, 8(2), 1-11.