Social Influence - Conformity

  • Created by: imogen
  • Created on: 06-06-17 10:47


Conformity - process of yielding to a majority influence, there are 3 types:

  • Internalisation - a real change of private views to match a groups views, deep and long-lasting

  • Identification - taking the views and beliefs of a group because of valuing membership, but they aren't necessarily maintained upon leaving

  • Compliance - publicly conforming to behaviour or views but privately maintaining their own

    Explanations of conformity

    1.    Normative social influence: is the need to be accepted by others, likely to lead to   compliance. This is emotional and not cognitive.

    2.    Informational social influence: need to feel confident that our ideas are correct, if we are unsure we seek others approval to form our own. This is cognitive. 

Conformity to Social Roles

Social roles - the 'parts' people play as members of various social groups. These are accompanied by expectations of appropriate behaviour for each role

1 of 3

Key Study

Asch: Unambiguous task

Aim: level of compliance

Procedure: participant placed in group of 6-8 confederates, P at end of row. They were asked to state out loud which line of 3 was the same length as the original line. On the first 2 trials all conf. gave the right answer, after that they all gave the same wrong answer.

Findings: 32% of answers were wrong, 74% conformed at least once, and 26% did not conform


  • Group size - after 3 conf. there was no rise in conformity

  • Unamity - conformity dropped in another gave a different answer

  • Task difficulty - conformity increased when it was harder to tell the line length

Conclusion: conformity in way of compliance. Normative social influence.

2 of 3

Conformity to Social Roles Key Study

Zimbardo: Stanford prison Experiment

Procedure: paid, male American volunteers randomly allocated to prisoner/guard. Arrest of ‘prisoners’ from homes. Handcuffed, blindfolded, stripped and sprayed; taken to 'prison'

Findings: Study was brutal and ‘realistic’ it was discontinued and 3 ‘prisoners’ dropped out etc.

Conclusion: people readily conform to expectations and such roles shape a person’s attitudes and behaviours.


:)  Environmentally stable and randomly allocated- rules out individual personality difference

X -  P’s were play acting - just based behaviour off stereotypes

:)  Quantitative data showed 90% of prisoner convos were about prison life- real situational experience.

X – Unethical – humiliation and distress caused to prisoners.

3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Conformity resources »