Types of conformity & research into conformity

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  • Types of conformity
    • Internalisation
      • Deepest level of conformity
      • Change in public behaviour and private beliefs. Long term.
      • ISI
    • Compliance
      • Lowest level of conformity
      • Change in public behaviour, no change in private beliefs. Short term.
      • NSI
    • Identification
      • Middle level of conformity
      • Change in public behaviour, change in private beliefs (only when group present). Short term
      • NSI
    • Research into conformity
      • Jenness (1932) asked participants to estimate how many beans were in the jar, asked them to confer as a group and decide on an answer.
        • Found nearly all participants changed their original answer. Males ave change = 256 Female ave change = 382
      • Asch (1951) used 123 male students at college in the USA on a line judgement task (participants believed they were doing a vision test)
        • 1 naive participant (pp), 7 to 9 confederates (pp thought they were also pps), real seated second to last. Each were asked to say aloud which line was closest to the length of the target line (always clear difference)
          • Confederates purposely wrong on 12 of the 18 trials = 12 critical trials
          • 74% conformed on at least one trial, 26% never conformed. 32% conformed on the majority of the trials.
        • Evaluation
          • Only men studied, lack of population validity
          • Only USA used, cultural bias=  Ethnocentrism
          • Perrin & Spencer used science and engineering students to replicate this study and found only 1 pp conformed out of the 396 trials
  • NSI = Normative social influence
    • Conforming to be accepted by a group (for sense of belonging)
      • Why? Socially rewarding or to avoid punishment
  • ISI = Informational social influence
    • Conforming to gain knowledge and be 'right'
      • Why? To act appropriately or to avoid standing out


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