Who Gave Social Impact Theory?


Martha Robinson

The Social Impact Theory is a psychological theory that was developed by Bibb Latane in the late 1970s. Latane, an American social psychologist, formulated this theory to explain how individuals are influenced by the presence and actions of others in a social setting.

Understanding the Social Impact Theory

The Social Impact Theory suggests that people’s behavior is influenced by three main factors: the strength, immediacy, and number of people present in a given situation. Let’s take a closer look at these factors:

1. Strength

The strength factor refers to the importance or significance of the sources of influence in a particular situation. For example, if a person highly values the opinions of their family members or close friends, they may be more likely to be influenced by them compared to strangers or acquaintances.

2. Immediacy

The immediacy factor relates to how close or physically present the sources of influence are to an individual.

Generally, individuals are more likely to be influenced by those who are physically closer to them. This proximity allows for direct communication and observation of behaviors.

3. Number

The number factor refers to the number of sources providing influence in a given situation.

The more people there are who express a particular opinion or behave in a certain way, the greater the impact it tends to have on others. This is often referred to as social consensus or informational social influence.

Applications of Social Impact Theory

The Social Impact Theory has been applied in various fields such as marketing, advertising, and social psychology research. It helps us understand how individuals’ attitudes and behaviors can be influenced by different factors.


  • Influence of celebrity endorsements on consumer behavior
  • Effectiveness of testimonials in advertising
  • Impact of social media influencers on purchasing decisions

Social Psychology Research:

  • Study of conformity and obedience in group settings
  • Understanding the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility
  • Exploring the role of social presence in online interactions


The Social Impact Theory, developed by Bibb Latane, provides valuable insights into how individuals are influenced by others in social situations. By considering the strength, immediacy, and number of people present, we can better understand how attitudes and behaviors are shaped.

This theory has practical applications in various fields and helps us comprehend the complexities of human interactions. By incorporating the principles of Social Impact Theory into marketing strategies or studying social psychology phenomena, we can enhance our understanding of human behavior.