Conformity - Unit 2 (AQA)

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  • Created on: 22-01-13 19:40
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"The Process of yielding to majority influence and can be defined as a change in behaviour or
belief as a result of real or imagined group pressure"
Types of Conformity:
Compliance ­ (Public, Not Private) Publically conforming, privately
maintaining own views
Identification ­ (Public & Private ­ Value) Adopting views of group publically
& privately because you value membership ­ may only be temporary and not
maintained if they leave the group
Internalisation ­ (Public & Private) Conversion of private views to match the
group ­ behaviours aren't dependant on the group presence
Why do people conform?
Normative Social Influence (Ash ­ Line Task):
Motivated by a desire to be accepted
Go along with the group to be accepted
Informational Social Influence (Sherif ­ Auto Kinetic effect):
Motivated by a desire to be correct
Seek others opinions (information) to ensure that we are correct ­ go along
with what they say
More likely to occur in unfamiliar & ambiguous situations

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Conformity ­ Individual Differences:
Situational Factors
Group Size:
The bigger the majority = More influential
Asch's Study ­ More confederates = More conformity (Small majorities are
easier to resist than large ones)
2 Confederates = Conformed 14% of the time
3 Confederates = Conformed 32% of the time
Social Support:
Asch's Study ­ Having someone else disagreeing with the majority = Easier
for participant to resist pressure to conform
When one of the confederates agreed with the participant = Conformity fell
to 5.…read more

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Eagly & Carli ­ Male researchers are more likely to find female higher
conformity rates than female researchers ­ they use tasks that are more
familiar to men (women need to look for help to find answer)
Cultural Differences
Perin & Spencer (1980) ­ Replicated Ash's study in England in 1970s ­ Found
virtually no instances of conformity
Larsen ­ Found lower rates of conformity in a replication of Asch's study in
America in 1974
Individualist Cultures = More likely to display independent behaviour =…read more

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Explanations of Independent Behaviour:
Desire for Individuation ­ We want to maintain a sense of being an
Prior Commitment ­ If you have publically expressed your opinion, you are
unlikely to change it and conform to an opposing view held by others
Time to think & find social support ­ If you have an opportunity to reflect
and find an ally = less likely to conform
Desire to maintain control ­ If we experience group pressure = feel out
personal freedom & control have…read more


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