Summary. The authors present a reformulation of social influence theory as a taxonomy, decision tree, and glossary sorted through the basis of “Four Fundamental Interpersonal Influence Distinctions,” cognitive processing (conscious/unconscious), perceived intentionality, relative social status, and direction of change. (p. 715). The authors suggest that this reformulation suggests several directions for further research by asking as many questions as it answers. Of particular personal interest in this summary is the perceived intentionality, specifically Unintentional Influence (imitation/antiimitation) that breaks down into indirect conformity, anticonformity, identification, disinhibitory contagion, and residual influence types.
Questions/Problems. The authors explain that there are two areas where issues arise when distinguishing Social Influence from other topics in social psychology. In fact, in most social psychology textbooks, social psychology IS social influence. So the authors propose a definition that is more specific rather than broad to distinguish from sweeping generalities that do nothing more than using a concept to define a concept without really explaining anything. That is the challenge of this new model of approaching the topic. The authors also recognize another challenge: distinguishing among concepts within a traditional sphere of social influence. There is no agreement among scholars regarding concepts, hence the basic reasoning for the authors’ new model.