Conformity: types and explanations

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  • Created on: 11-02-18 12:05
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  • Conformity: types and explanations
    • types of conformity
      • internalisation
        • When a person genuinely accepts group norms. it results in a private as well as public change in opinion and behaviour
        • The change is more likely to be permanent and persist in the absence of group members because attitudes have become part of how the person thinks.
      • identification
        • when we identify with a group that we value, we want to become part of it.
        • so we publically change our opinion and behaviour, even if we don't privately agree with everything the group stands for.
      • compliance
        • involves going along with others in public, but privately changing opinion and behaviour.
        • this results in only a superficial change and the opinion and behaviour stops as soon as group pressure ceases.
    • explanations for conformity
      • informational social influence (ISI)
        • ISI is about information, a desire to be right.
          • often we are certain about what behaviour or beliefs are right or wrong.
          • ISI is a cognitive process- people generally want to be right
        • ISI occurs in situations that are ambiguous
          • ISI is most likely in situations which are new or where there is some ambiguity, so it isn't clear what is right.
          • It may happen when decisions have to be made quickly, and when one person or group is regarded as being more expert.
      • normative social influence
        • NSI is about norms, a desire to behave like others and not look foolish.
          • NSI concerns what is normal or typical behaviour for a social group.
          • Norm regulate the behaviour of groups and individuals so it is not surprising that we pay attention to them.
          • NSI is an emotional rather than cognitive process- people prefer social approval rather than rejection.
        • NSI occurs in unfamiliar situations and with people you know.
          • NSI is most likely in situations where you don't know the norms and look to others about how to behave.
          • it is important with people you know rather than strangers because people are concerned about the social approval of friends.
          • it may be more pronounced in stressful situations where people have a need for social support.
    • Limitations
      • A limitation of ISI is that there are individual differences
        • Asch (1955) found that students were less conformist (28%0 than other participants (37%)
          • Perrin and spencer's (1980) also found less conformity in students
      • a limitation of NSI is that there are individual differences
        • people who care more about being liked are more affected by NSI. They are nAffiliators- people who have a greater need for social relationships
          • McGhee and Teevan (1967) found that students who were nAffiliators were more likely to conform.
            • the desire to be liked underlies conformity for some people more than others. one general theory does not cover the fact there are differences.
    • strengths
      • A strength of ISI is that there is research support.
        • Lucas el al (2006) asked students to give answers to easy and more difficult maths problems.
          • there was more conformity to incorrect answers when the problems were difficult. this was most true for students who rated their maths ability as poor.
      • a strength of NSI is that there is research support
        • Asch (1951) asked participants to explain why they agreed with the wrong answer. some said they felt self-conscious giving the right answer and were afraid of disapproval.
          • when Asch asked participants to write down their answers, conformity rates fell by 12.5%


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