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Why do people conform?
Normative Social Influence
This occurs when people have a need to be liked. The
power of the need for social approval results in a public
agreement, but this is not likely to change in private.
This was the main reason for conformity in Asch's
This type of conformity is known as compliance because
the conformity is only superficial the change in opinion or
behaviour lasts only as long as the group pressure itself.
Over time people conform more and more to the ways other
people do things. It becomes a social obligation to fit in and
follow what the others around them are doing. This does
not just happen with friends or loved ones, it can happen
with people you have never met.
Overall, the people who are influenced the most by this
concept of normative social influence have low
selfesteem. These people tend to do anything to gain the
approval from others. Those who decide not to belong to
the group are often called strange and deviant. Conformity
in Asch's experiment showed that the majority of
participants were under the influence of group pressure
(normative social influence).
Informational Social Influence
Informational social influence comes into place when
people are uncertain if they are correct so they conform to
others opinions believing they have more expertise than
It is theorized that this is more likely to occur when
someone is unaware of what to do so they turn to someone
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This type of conformity is shown in Sherif's autokinetic
effect experiment on light where participants conformed to
the opinions of those around them that they believed were
the more knowledgeable.…read more