Conformity Unit

All you need to know for AS Conformity Psychology AQA Spec A

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Conform Individual chooses a course of
action that is favoured by a
majority or group members
which is socially acceptable.
Deviating Individual choose to behave in a
way which is not socially
acceptable or majority group
appear not to favour.
Compliance Going along with others to
gain their approval to avoid
their disapproval
Identification with
majority desirable
May comply with little
or no private attitude
Internalisation Going along with others
because you have accepted
their point of view because
it is consistent with you own
Validation process
An acceptance of the
groups point of view
both publicly and
Identification Going along with others
because you have accepted
their point of view but only
because of a desire to be
like them
Incorporates both
compliance and
Accept what they are
adopting and adopt the
attitudes of the group
Normative Need to be accepted by and
belong to the group could
Social Influence be rewarding as the group
have power to
punish/exclude outcasts
May personally and
disagreeconforming on
the surface
Example StudyAsch's
Evaluation points

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Practical value
highlighted role of
normative social
influence in bullying
Garandeau and
Cillessen 2006
groups with low quality
interpersonal friendship
may be manipulated by
a bully so victimisation
becomes a common
goalcausing pressure
for members to comply
Asch's study may lack
Informational Individuals go along with others
as they genuinely believe them
Social Influence to be right
Change in point of
view public/private
attitude and behaviour
Most likely when
Situation is ambiguous
Situation is in crisis
Belief others are
Example Study Moscovici…read more

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Simpler perceptual
task involving
participants comparing
three different lengths
to a standard line.
Control group of 36
participants were
asked to judge line
lengths individually
79 confederates
seated around a table
asked to judge line
length individually,
participant last/last but
one.…read more

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128 naive female
participantstested for
good eyesight
Six at a time were
asked to name
coloured slides 36
slides varying in
Control group tested to
see what colour was
chosen in the absence
of social influence
Consistent Condition 6
asked to name colour
of slides 2 of 6 were
confederates answered
`green' on every trial
Inconsistent Condition
2 of 6 were
confederates with
confederates answered
green on 24 trials
Control group named
slides blue 99.…read more

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Where there is
agreement among
members of the
minority group
Conversion Moscovici's explanation of
conformity to minority influence
Theory base don idea that if an
individual is exposed to an
attitude that is contradictory to
a currently held argument
creating conflict.
Assumes individuals
are motivated reducing
conflict leading to
examination of
minority's arguments
to understand why
people hold the same
opinion as the majority.
Mackie 1987 challenged
Moscovici's explanation. She
claimed that it is the majority
that promotes greater message
processing.…read more

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Both groups
can lead to
internalisation.…read more

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Minority Twelve Angry Men
Clark 1994 looked at
Influence social influence in jury
research setting. Participants
(students) read
transcript of arguments
presented in the film
Twelve Angry Men.…read more

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Milgram 1963 Aim
Investigate how far
Study ordinary people go in
obeying orders of an
authority figure which
involved inflicting harm
on another person
Took place in a lab at
40 American male
volunteers told they
were taking part in an
experiment on
punishment and
Participant always
assigned role of
`teacher' confederate
role of `learner'
Participant sat with
electric shock
machine told to give
`learner' electric shock
when they made a
mistake on simple
learning task.…read more

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Study lacked
ecological validity
r relationship unlikely
Not possible to
generalise reflect
done in limited time in
lab setting
Unethical distress
ally ­ no informed
consent deception
right to withdraw(Verbal
Difference Conformity Obedience
Regulates behaviour Occurs within a
between among equal hierarchyLinks one
conformity and statusacceptance status to another
obedience Behaviour adopted Behaviour adopted
similar to peers differs from authority
Required to go along figure's
with group is often Prescription for action
implicit explicit
Participants denied Participants embrace
conformity…read more

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Increasing the teacher's Teacher has more control over Obedience decreased to
discretion the experiment 2.5%
shock delivered was
left to teachers
Context altered Authority not shown as lab coat Obedience decreased to
Location of experiment not worn which makes it 47.…read more


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