• Created by: Jscott18
  • Created on: 26-01-18 12:48

Define Conformity And The Different Types

Define: Changing your opinions, attitudes or behaviour in response to other members of a group, group pressure and 'norms'.

Types of conformity (Kelman)

  • Compliance
    • Shallow level as desire to fit in and avoid feeling uncomfortable
    • Publically agree but privately disagree
    • Agreement shops when majority is removed
  • Identification
    • Moderate level of conformity as desire to be accepted
    • Publically and privately agreeing as value the group
    • Change behaviour but not always permanent
  • Internalisation
    • Deep level of conformity
    • Publically and privately agreeing as accept views
    • Desire to adopt new belifes
    • Permanent change
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Asch (1951) And His Situational Variables

Asch (1951)

  • Aim = Investigate if majority could influence minority in an unambiguous situation
  • Methos = 123 male students in groups of 7 (1 real participant and 6 confederates). Looking at the length of lines and seeing which are the same. The real participants were last or second to last to answer. Confederates told to give the same but wrong answer.
  • Results = Conformed in 32% of trials overall and 75% conformed at least one time. Many admitted they did it to not stand out

Asch's Situational Variables

  • Difficulty of task (more ambiguous)
    • Increase conformity as they believed the confederates are correct
  • Unanimity (social support)
    • Decrease in conformity to 5% as they didnt feel alown in their decision
  • Group size (3 people in a group)
    • Decrease in conformity to 3% as they felt less judgement from the group
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Sherif (1935)

Aim = To see if people would conform in an ambiguous situation

Method = Autokinetic effect (Light projected on a screen that appears to move but doesn't). Participants asked to estimate how far the light had moved individually then but into groups of 3 and told to say the answer out loud

Results = It was found that over a number of triles the group moved to a common estimate. This is known as internalisation.

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Conformity Research - Strengths And Weaknesses

High in reliability

  • Lab experiments which are highly srandardised
  • E.g. Same test and same size of group
  • This means the research can be replicated and has been shown to gain consistent results

Criticised for being out of date (Era dependent)

  • Possible of being a reflection of social and historical aspects of it time
  • Perrin and Spencer replicated Asch's study 30 years later using science, maths and engineering students and out of 396 trials there was only one occassion of conformity
  • This means we cant generalise the findings to modern day society

Low in ecological validity and mundane realism

  • Lengths of lines and light moving are unrealistic examples of ambiguous tasks
  • This means we cant generalise findings to real life situations
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Conformity Research - Strengths And Weaknesses

Accused of being cultural relative

  • Asch's study was conducted in America and some psychologists have found different levels of conformity in other cultures (Collectivist and Individualistic)
  • Smith and Bond conducted a meta-analysis of 133 conformity studies in 17 countries and found average level of 31%. However, Fiji was 58% and Belgium was 14%
  • This means it is hard to relate the findings to other countries

Fails to adhere to ethical guidlines

  • E.g. Deceived the participants, didnt protect them from psychological harm and participants didnt give informed consent
  • This means there rights may not have been protected but lots have been learned about human behaviour 
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Explanations For Conformity

Dual Process Theory (Deutsch and Gererd 1955)

  • Normative Influence
    • Motivational force to be liked and accepted by a group
    • Unambiguous
    • Asch
    • Unlikely to truly belive
    • Looking for respect
  • Informational Influence
    • Motivational force to look to others for guidance in order to be correct
    • Ambiguous
    • Sherif
    • Truly beliving
    • To be made confedent on ideas
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Explanations For Conformity - Strengths

Supporting evidence for normative influence

  • Asch found that conformity dropped to 12% when participants wrote down their answer privately. This was because there was less pressure to fit in and less change of being ridiculed
  • This means that people conform when under direct pressure

Supporting evidence for informational influence

  • Lucas asked students to give answers to math problems (Easy and difficult). There was more conformity when answering the difficult math problems than the easy ones.
  • This means people are more likely to look for guidance when, encertain of the answer
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Explanations For Conformity - Weaknesses

Does not account for individual differences

  • This may explain why less intelligent people conform more, but intelligent people conform less
  • It is suggested that the only reason that participants in Perrin and Spencers study didnt conform was because they where science and engineering students
  • Also not everyone feels the need to conform to be accepted

Difficult to estabish which type is affecting the behaviour

  • In most cases, both processes are involved. Unlike what Deutch and Gerrard proposed
  • E.g. Conformity levels dropped when participants were given social support. This could be becuase there was less pressure to fit in or someone else supported there view
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Stanford Prison Experiment - Social Roles

Zimbardo (1973). Aim = To see if behaviour would change in accordance with social roles

Method / Results

  • Set up a mock prison in Stanford University using 24 students who were ramdomly given the role of the prisoner or guard
  • Prisoners were arrested, searched and given a number
  • Guards were told to wear glasses and that they had full control of the prisoners
  • Cut short after 6 days rather than the intended 12. Within 2 days the prisoners rebelled
  • Guards became abusive E.g. woken in night and made to clean the toilets with bare hands
  • One prisoner went and hunger strike and was force fed. Four were released due to brying rage and anxiety
  • Guards, prisoners and researchers all conformed to their social roles

Deindividuation = Change behaviour as a result of loss of personal identity. Watson (1975) found that warriors who wore masks or face paints were more likely to kill or torture.

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Prison Experiment - Strengths And Weakness

Can explain real world atrocities

  • Abu Ghraib military prison = Officers found guilty of torturing and abusing prisoners
  • Zimbardo argued this was due to lack of training, loss of personal indentity, no higher authority and loss of responsibility
  • This means that it has made a positive contribution to society

High level of demand characteristics

  • Participants only 'play acting' rather than conforming
  • One guard later said he modelled the behaviour of a sheriff
  • This means we cant establish cause and effect 
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Prison Experiment - Strengths And Weakness

Replications show different findings

  • BBC replication = Less brutal and they swapped roles
  • This means the results are unreliable as they lack consistency

Failed to adhere to ethical guidelines

  • Not protected from harm E.g. Zimbardo also conformed / guards could do what they want
  • Not able to give informed consent E.g. Wasn't sure what would happen
  • Didnt know they could leave the study
  • This means the rights of the participants were not protected
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