Conformity and Social change

All on the social influence  for AQA A

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As defined by Aaranson - process of  yeilding into majority influence be it real or imagined.

Types of conformity :  Kelman 1958

Complience - publicly conforming to behaviour or views of others, but privately maintaining your own

Identification- adopting the views or behaviour of a group both publicly and privately because you value the membership of that group. Attitudes not maintained when leaving the group

Internalization - a converstion or true change of private views to match those of the group. New attitudes become a part of your value system, not dependent on the precence of the group


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Why Do People Conform?

The Dual Process Model by Deutsch and Gerrard - 1995


Normative social influence - based on our desire to be liked. We conform because we think that others will approve and accept us. According to Latane's social impact theory, we respond to the influence if a group is very important to us

Informational social influence - based on our desire to be right. We look to others whom we believe to be correct, to give us information about how to behave in a new or ambiguous situations. Sherif's 1936 study conveyed that people use each other as a sourse of information

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Asch 1956 - conformity to majority influence

Asch 1956 - the "lines" experiment

Method - repeated measures design; 123 American male students; voluntary sample; 1 or 2 participants in each group - rest confederates

Results - only 25% never conformed, 75% of the participants conformed at least once. In the control experiment with no confederates only 1% gave the wrong answer

Conclusion - reasons for conformity from participants were: distortion of perception (a small number actually claimed to seeing the lines the same way as the confederates), judgement (doubted their own view) and action (privately maintained own views)


Large sample, high internal validity

Andocentric and ethnocentric bias, low ecological validity, deception, Perrin and Spencer - old study

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Moscovichi 1969 minority influence

Moscovichi 1969 - the woman colour study

Method - repeated mesures design; 32 groups, with 6 women in each; 1 or 2 confederates in each group

Results - when the minority was consistent, they achieved a 8.42% of conformity, but when they were inconsistent in their views only 1.25% participants conformed

Conclustion - when the minority is consistent it is more influencial over the majority. Links to social change in history e.g. women suffrage


Andocentric and ethnocentric bias, aged, low population validity

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More conformity studies

Smith and Bond - collectivist and individualistic cultures have a different response to conformity

Furman and Duke 1988 - music majors, less conforming

Zimbardo et al. 1973 - the prison study


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