Complete Revision Notes Conformity, Obedience, Social Change

Complete, detailed set of revision notes on conformity from AS unit 2, AQA Psychology. Includes conformity, obedience and social change.

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  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 24-05-13 10:37
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Conformity- The tendency to change behaviour or attitudes in response to the influence of
others or social pressure. The pressure can be real or imagined.
Kelman's 3 Types of Conformity
Compliance- Going along with others to gain approval or avoid disapproval. There is no
change in the person's underlying attitude, only their public behaviour. Saying they like a
show because all of their friends like it- listening to `popular' music but not actually liking it.
Changing public behaviour but not private.
Identification- Going along with others because of a desire to be like them. An individual
feels more a part of the group by adopting the attitudes and behaviours of others (private
change). People change their view publically and privately after being exposed to others
views to fit in with them. Behaviour is not permanent.
Internalisation- Going along with others because of an acceptance of their point of view.
Often permanent. The deepest form of conformity. Eg. A student becomes a vegetarian
because they live with an animal rights activist and may retain this view for the rest of their
life. People can internalise views of minority groups. It is a personal choice.
Does everyone conform? Can depend on:
Personality differences
May not conform to rebel
Strong convictions/morals
Religious views
Strict family
Asch's Study- Compliance
123 male students asked to take part in a task of visual perception. They were put in a group
of 7-9 and were shown two cards one of a standard line and the other showing three
comparison lines. Ps were asked to call out which of the comparisons matched the standard
line. Asch used confederates who were told to give the wrong answer. The one real
participant was sat last at the table so they were exposed to the wrong answers before
giving theirs. 25% remained completely independent. 5% conformed on every trial.

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Some felt their eyes/perceptions were wrong. Others conformed because they did not want
to stand out.
Asch found that as trials progressed, ps became increasingly anxious and
self-conscious regarding their answers and some reported feelings of stress-
protection of participants.…read more

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The minority could influence the majority through changes in behaviour/defections
seeing other people change their views can have a powerful effect on individuals own
In a study by Clark (1994) 270 college students were asked to role play the part of jurors and
read a summary of a court case presented in the film 12 Angry Men. Participants were given
a summary of the murder case and the jury's discussions about key pieces of evidence.…read more

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Prisoners have all committed crimes
and are in prison because they have been convicted, not because they are taking part in an
experiment. And prison officers have families they go home to, they do not work 24 hours a
Sherif's Study- Group Solidarity
Each participant was taken individually to a dark room and asked to focus on a single spot of
light. They were asked to estimate how far the light moved and in what direction.…read more

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All learners were confederates
Ps were told it was a study to see if punishment affected learning (deception)
Teacher saw the learner strapped into an electric hock apparatus
Teacher was given mild shock to show the machine was real
Learner was in a separate room adjacent to the researcher and experimenter
Teacher could not see learner but could hear them- buffers
Teacher told to read out word pairs to the learner
They read out the 1st word of each pair and waited for the learner…read more

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Ordinary people are obedient to authority even when they must behave in an
inhumane manner
Suggest many crimes against humanity may be due to situational factors, rather than
dispositional (personality) factors
Ordinary people are capable
Situation Factor- The situation you are currently experiencing, eg. Holocaust
Dispositional Factor- Individual personalities
Factors Affecting Obedience- Variations of Milgram
The setting of the experiment- Milgram thought that the setting, the prestigious
Yale University may have contributed to high levels of obedience.…read more

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Milgram showed that it's not the disposition of the people that causes the war but
that the obedience to authority can be a powerful factor in causing anyone to behave
in an out of character way
Bickman-Power of uniform study
New York
Asked strangers to pick up rubbish, stand on other side of bus stop or lend money to
stranger for a parking metre
Half time dressed in a security guard uniform and rest of time in street clothes
92% complied when in uniform
49%…read more

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Personality Factors People with authoritarian personality Some people are more likely
have a tendency to be extremely to disobey rules eg. Uniform
obedient. Those who were fully rules.
obedient scored higher on tests of 1/3 of people didn't obey
authoritarianism, and low on scales of Milgram, so they must have
social responsibility. had a different personality to
others who obeyed.
Legitimate Refers to the amount of social power More likely to obey head
Authority/Authorit held by a person giving the instruction.…read more

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Manager said that
he had been sacked for speaking out against high petrol prices
·participants were filmed during the discussion
·it was then found that the participant's views were irrelevant and the filming process
became a further set up in support of the argument against the manager
·at the end, participants were asked to sign a consent form allowing the film to be shown
in court
·the results concluded to 32/33 groups rebelled in some way during the discussions.…read more

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Morals & Ethics
A moral philosopher found that people's beliefs about morals & ethics impacts on
behaviour. He argued that those whose values are based on moral principles were
more defiant.
Martin Luther King said `laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice'
Locus of Control
Locus of Control- Refers to the sense of control people have over the successes, failures
and events in their lives. Locus of control is measured on a scale.…read more



Really helpful revision notes for the PSYA2 Social Psychology topic.  Thank you (again) Emily!

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