Conformity

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  • Conformity
    • when a larger group of people influence a smaller group of people
    • types of conformity
      • internalisation
        • a change in behaviour but not beliefs
      • compliance
        • a change in behaviour but not belief
      • identification
        • a change in behaviour and beliefs in order to be like an individual or group we admire
    • explanations for conformity
      • Deutsch and Gerard
        • dual process model of conformity
          • normative social influence
            • when an individual conforms because they want to be liked by the other members of the group
            • Verkooijen
              • had 6000 participants in Denmark between 16-20 label themselves as nerd, hippie, skater etc.
              • found the more strongly they identified themselves as part of their group, the more they conformed to their group norms, mostly for normative reasons
            • only changes public opinion
          • informational social influence
            • when an individual conforms because of the perceived superior knowledge or judgement of others
            • changes private and public opinion
            • Pincus
              • had participants identify which musical notes were the same. introduced a confederate as a musical expert
              • people conformed to the confederate's opinion because they had perceived superior knowledge
        • implies 2 types of social influence are independent and separate when in reality they often work together to affect conformity
        • Schultz: placed cards in hotel rooms saying people were using less towels to save energy and found people used less towels during their stay
    • Variables affecting conformity
      • Asch
        • had 7 people look at a display. gave them the task of saying out loud which of 3 lines was the same length as the given stimulus line. all but one participant was a confederate, and this one real one was always questioned last. on critical trials confederates all gave the wrong answer
          • in the control condition, 0 incorrect answers were given
          • in the experimental condition, incorrect answers were given on 37% of the critical trials
          • 75% of participants conformed to at least one wrong answer
          • 5% of participants conformed to all wrong answers
          • all participants were male and American
          • low temporal validity
          • low ecological validity
          • can be easily replicaeted
          • high empirical value
        • identified 3 situational variables using his study
          • factors that are linked to the situation or environment that have an effect
          • group size
            • as majority influence increases, so does conformity
              • 1 confederate = 4% conformity
              • 2 confederates = 14% conformity
              • 3 confederates = 35% conformity
              • up to 15 confederates = 30-35% conformity
            • Bond and Smith did a meta-analysis on 133 studies from 17 different countries and found conformity peaks at 4-5 confederates
              • a meta-analysis is a reanalysation of other people's research which conclusions are taken from
          • unanimity
            • when everyone agrees
            • conformity increases when unanimity increases
              • the important factor was found to be reduction in majority agreement rather than participant support
            • when one confederate went against majority vote the participant conformity was 6%
            • when a confederate went against the majority vote and the participant's vote conformity was 9%
          • task difficulty
            • how hard the task is
            • conformity increases as task difficulty increases
    • Conformity to social roles
      • Zimbardo
        • created a prison simulation and randomly allocated people either prisoner or guard. guards had to keep prisoners in line using verbal abuse and punishment e.g. putting them in a tiny room
          • supposed to last 2 weeks but was terminated after 6 days due to prisoners needing to be released from psychological harm
        • nearly everyone conformed to their social role to the point they truly believed their role was real. the guards were aggressive and physically abusive, and the prisoners rebelled, protested and had breakdowns
        • valuable as it shows how fast people can conform to social roles

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