• Created by: Emily903
  • Created on: 25-10-17 12:45
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  • Conformity
    • A type of social influence: the tendency for people to adopt the behaviours, attitudes, and values of other members of a group due to real or imagined group pressure.
    • Types of conformity
      • Compliance: Changing views publicly, but privately maintaining different views.
      • Internalisation: Changing views both publicly and privately as we believe they are right.
      • Identification: Changing to the views of the group both publicly and privately, but only as long as we are a member of the group.
    • Explanations
      • Normative Social Influence
        • A form of influence whereby an individual conforms with the expectations of the group to again approval or avoid social disapproval.
          • Linked to compliance.
        • Humans have a fundamental need for social companionship and a fear of censure and rejection.
        • Evaluation
          • Schultz (2008) found that by exposed people to the message that 75% of hotel guests reuse their towel, towel use reduced by 25%.
          • It may not always be detected: research has shown people rely on beliefs about what should motivate them and so under-detect the impact of normative influence.
      • Informational Social Influence
        • A form of influence based on our desire to be right - looking to others as a way of gaining evidence about reality.
          • Linked to internalisation.
        • Humans need to feel confident in their perception and beliefs that they are correct e.g. religion , cutlery.
        • Evaluation
          • Wittenarink and Henley (1996) found social stereotypes led to beliefs when an individual believed it was a majority view.
    • Research into conformity: Asch (1956)
      • A: To see the effect of group conformity.
      • P: 123 male USA students, visual discrimination task. Only one real participant. Confederates gave the wrong answer 12/18 trials.
      • F: Average rate of conformity: 33%. 1/4 never conformed. 1/2 conformed on 6 or more trials. 1/20 conformed on all trials.
      • C: People will conform with the group even if they believe the group is wrong.
      • Evalution
        • Lacks mundane realism.
        • Deception.
          • Cultural differences.
            • Unconvincing confederates.
        • Low historical validity: McCarthyism (a strong anti-communist period) - people were more likely to conform and were scared to go against the majority.
    • Variables affecting conformity
      • Group Size: Asch - 1 or 2 confederates = little conformity. 3 confederates =30% conformity
        • Campbell and Fairey (1989) - Conformity increases when there is not a correct answer.
      • Unanimity of the majority: Asch - supported naive participants with a confederate who gave the right answer through out. Conformity dropped from 33% to 5.5%.
      • Task difficulty: Asch - Line lenghts were much closer (more difficult) = increased conformity.
    • Conformity to Social Roles: Zimbardo/ Haney (1973)
      • Social roles: behaviours expected of an individual who occupies a given social status or position.
      • A: To see if people conform to social roles.
      • P: 24 healthy male collage students. Randomly assigned to role of guard or prisoner.
      • F:Guards became cruel and sadistic e.g. putting nettles in prisoners' beds and making them clean toilets with their bare hands. Prisoners became depressed and submissive, but eventually rebelled. Some had a mental breakdown.
      • C: People conform to social roles which may cause harm to people despite original personality.
      • Evaulation
        • Unethical: had to be stopped after 6 days, but participants were aware that their rights would be suspended and there were no long term effects.
        • Low historical validity: BBC prison study (2006) no automatic role conformity and shift of power led to the guard-prisoner system collapsing.
        • Demand characteristics


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