explanations of why people conform

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  • Created on: 12-12-12 20:39
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Explanations of why people conform
Normative social influence: compliance is acting like the majority without accepting its
view point. Humans are social species and have a fundamental fear of rejection. People
conform in order to be perceived as normal.
AO2- real world application- seem in bullying as they have a common view, victimising people
, they take part to seem normal.
Informative social influence- people go along as they genuinely believe they are right. In
this instance the person not only goes along publicly but agrees privately this is called
internalisation. This can occur when confronted with a persuasive majority.
Informational social influence is most likely when:
The situation is ambiguous: the right action is not clear
Crisis-rapid action required
Others are experts-believe others are more likely to know what to do.
Fein et al- judgements on presidential debates can be influence by knowing others reactions.
Participants saw reactions of `supposed' other participants of a debate and this caused shift
in participant's judgements of candidates showing it can shape opinions.
Social impact theory by Latane
Tried to explain why people conform in some situations not others
3 principles:
1) number- more people=more influence, but too many and the change is not
significant, like Asch's study 3 or 4 has the most influence after that there was not
much change.
2) strength- more important=more influence, Perrin and Spence found when
influence is probation officers and the individuals were on probation, conformality
rates were high.
3) immediacy- individuals have influence, more people=less influence. So more likely
to hear or listen if in a small group rather than a large one.
She later revised it with 4 more categories:
1) consolidation- bigger majority + smaller minority= harder to resist
2) clustering- more influenced by people we are close to with similar opinions
3) correlation- their opinion blur on other issues and become similar
4) Continuity diversity- if minority close they can shield from majority opinion.


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