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Conformity is an example of majority influence. Three
types of conformity:
Compliance ­ When we change our behaviour to be
more like the majority but we do not privately change
out mind about what we believe. E.g. Smoking, laughing
at a joke that others find funny but privately not finding it
Internalisation ­ when we change our minds about
something because the majority have convinced us
they re right an so we adjust our behaviour . E.g.
Identification ­ when we adjust our behaviour or beliefs
in order to become like an individual or group we
admire. E.g. Following band and taking their beliefs, but
if the band broke up you would stop in believing in what
they did.…read more

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Early studies of conformity
Asch's study1956
Lab experiment, 123 male American students volunteered to take part
in a test of their `vision' although unbeknown to these volunteers, all
the other participants were confederates of the experimenter. Asch
showed a series of lines to the participants seated around a table,
in turn had to state out loud which of the three likes were the same
length as a standard line. The real participant always answered last
or second to last. On 12 of the 18 trials the confederates were
instructed to give the incorrect answer.
On the 12 trials where the confederates gave incorrect answers 36.8%
of the response given by the real participant were also incorrect
(showing conformity) only 25% of participants never conformed at
WRONG.…read more

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Only because of its time?
Perrin and Spencer did not get the same level of conformity in their
1980 study and concluded that Asch got the results he did because
America in 1956 was in the grip of McCarthyism, a strong anti ­
communist period where people were scared to be different from
the majority
Can be accused of being unethical.
Deception ­ participants were not told the true aim of the experiment.
Which also means they did not have fully informed consent.
Protection from harm ­ psychological harm may be been caused as
the nature of the experiment would have made the participant feel
as their vision or intelligence was impaired as the answer seemed
obvious but the confederates were giving incorrect answers…read more

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Another study into conformity was done by Sherif
(1935) he asked participants individually to
watch a stationary light n a dark room, because
we constantly make small eye movements
lights in a dark room appear to move. Sherifs
participants agreed that the light moved but
varied in their beliefs about hw often and in
what direction it moved. When placed in groups
of 3 and repeated the the task there was
considerable agreement between them about
when and where the light moved, so the view of
each participant conformed to those of the
others in their group.…read more

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Explanations for conformity
Normative social influence
Happens when an individual acts the same way a the majority without
actually accepting it (compliance) but its because they do not want
to be rejected, they have a fear of rejection and it makes it difficult
to deviate from the majority leading to compliance.
Bullying ­ Normative social influence has been demonstrated in a
study on bullying. Garandeau and cillessen showed how children
with a low level of friendship can be manipulated by a skilful bully so
that victimising another child provides the group with a common
goal. This puts pressure on group members to comply to maintain
the friendship of the other members of the group.…read more

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