SOCIAL - Explanations and factors affecting conformity - Psychology Y1

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  • Explanations for conformity
    • Compliance
      • when public behaviour is different from public opinion
      • involves agreeing with majority in order to avoid disapproval (even if you privately disagree)
      • smoking, drinking, bullying
      • John sees a romantic comedy when he really wants to see a sci-fi
    • Internalisation
      • when private opinion effects public behaviour
      • an individual converts their private beliefs to match that of their group
      • new attitude and behaviour become part of their value system
      • maintained even when the group is not present or when they are no longer a part of the group
      • a protester may conform to group behav in public, until eventually private opinion changes to match the public behav
    • Identification
      • conformity to a social role- attitudes, behavs, and norms associated with the role are adapted (beliefs, values and behavs)
      • value of being placed in the group
      • maintained for as long as the individ is part of the group or engages in activity of the role
        • opinions change once they leave the group
    • Explanations
      • Normative Social Influence (NSI)
        • yield to group pressure in order to be liked and accepted
        • Research supporting
          • Asch ('51)
            • PROCEDURE: 50 male PPs shown two cards with lines on. PPs stated which lines were the same (original card and comparrison card). Each group put with confederates (thought they were genuine PPs), real PPs put last or second to last, 18 total trials - 12 = critical trials, were confeds told to give wrong answer. in first 6, confeds gave right answer
            • RESULTS: PPs conformed to unambiguous answer in 32% of critical trials, 74% of PPs conformed at least once, 26% didn't conform at all. POST-INTERVIEW: people conformed for diff reasons: don't want to be rejected (NSI) or they actually believe it (ISI)
            • EVALUATION: sample bias - all PPs were male, not generalisable to females, '50s - conservative USA, great desire to fit in after Cold War, ethics - deception, lack of informed consent, possible psychological damage
      • Informational Social Influence (ISI)
        • look at group and copy behav bc they believe them to be right (internalisation)
        • Research supporting
          • Arthur Jenness ('32)
            • PROCEDURE: PPs made individ private guesses about the number of jelly beans in a jar (ambiguous answer). PPs then discussed in groups about the number. After discussions, separate private estimates were made
            • RESULTS: 2nd opinion = higher (ISI). Change was greater among women (they conformed more). Men= big ego, stand against conformity
            • EVALUATION: more ethical than other studies (Asch etc.), didn't tell PPs aim of study - deception, lab experiment lacks mundane realism, may involve NSI as well as ISI - after 1st private estimates, PPs made group estimates - affects 2nd priv.est. (NSI - acceptance, ISI -desire to be correct)
          • Abrams ('90)
            • we are only affected by others' opinions in ambiguous situations when we see ourselves sharing characteristics with them
              • more likely to internalise the opinions of friends over strangers
                • Real world psych: 90% of people trust friend recommendations of products, will buy products to fit in with the groups - advertisers use this to sell products
    • Factors affecting conformity (in Asch study)
      • non-unanimous (undecided) majority
        • decreased conformity when one confederate dissented from majority
      • size of majority
        • ONLY 2: decreased: 32% to 12.8%
        • ONLY 3: no effect, optimun conformity levels found with 3 people, Conformity levels didn't increase with more people
      • nature of task
        • MORE DIFF: increased, more likely to doubt yourself, ISI, more diff = more conform
      • mode of response
        • writing answers down: decreased, less NSI, don't have to say in front of everyone
      • size of group
        • increased, conformity increased as group size did, optimum conformity (3)
      • individual differences (not Asch)
        • gender
          • females more likely to conform than males
          • EAGLY ('81) - females socialised into more submissive roles and greater conformity expected
        • culture
          • collectivist culture: priorities are on the needs of the group/tribe. Individ needs are unimportant if they don't effect the group (found in poorer groups/countries - China), higher levels of conformity
          • individualist culture: decisions dependent on how it effects you (Western/rich cultures)
          • PERRIN & SPENCER ('80) reproduced Asch's study with 33 Brit students from maths, science and chem courses. less conformity - students taught to question own opinions. Done in 80s - different child rearing practises - don't take things at face value. Brits traditionally less conforming than America
          • SMITH & BOND ('98) analysed 81 Asch studies in diff cultures (difference between individ and collect cultures. Higher conformity in collect.cultures

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