Social Influence: Conformity: Types and Explanations

Types of Conformity

I N T E R N A L I S A T I O N

We take on the majoirities view because we accept it as correct. Results in Public and Private change.

I D E N T I F I C A T I O N 

We act in the same way with the group because we value it and want to be a part of it. Publicly change, even if privately dont agree with everything.

C O M P L I A N C E

'Going along with others' in public, but privately disagree. Change in behaviour only lasts as long as the group is watching.

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Explanations for Conformity

 I N F O R M A T I O N A L   S O C I A L    I N F L U E N C E

We agree with the view of the majority because we believe it is correct.

The desire to be right.

COGNITIVE process

N O R M A T I V E    S O C I A L   I N F L U E N C E

We agree with the view/opinion of the majority because we want to be accepted, gain social approval, and be liked.

Fear rejection

EMOTIONAL process

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Evaluation of Explanations 1

STRENGTH

There is research support for informational social influence

Lucas et al, asked students to give answers to mathematical problems that were easy or more difficult. There was greater conformity to incorrect answers. This was most true for the students who rated their mathematical ability as poor. This study shows that people conform in situations where they feel they dont know the answer, so they look to others and assume they know better and assume they are right. This is the exact outcome predicted by Informational Social Influence.

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Evaluation of Explanations 2

LIMITATION

There are individual differences in Normative Social Influence

Some research shows that Normative social influence does not affect everyones behaviour in the same way. For example, people who are less concerned with being liked are less affected by Normative social influence than those who care more about being liked. These are described as nAffiliators- people who are in greater need for being in a relationship with others. Mcghee and Teevan found that students high in need of affiliation were more likely to conform. This shows that the desire to be liked underlies conformity for some people more than others. Therefore there are individual differences in the way people respond.

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Evaluation of Explanations 3

STRENGTH

There is research support for Normative Social Influence.

Asch found that many of his participants went along with the clearly wrong answer because others did. So he asked them why they did this. Some of the participants said they felt self-conscious giving the right answer and they were afraid of disapproval. This clearly provides evidence for normative social influence as his participants feared rejection. When Asch repeated his study but asked participants to write down their answers instead of saying them outloud, conformity rates fell to 12.5%

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Evaluation of Explanations 4

LIMITATION

There are individual differences in Informational Social Influence

As with Normative social influence, Informational social influence does not affect everyones behaviour in the same way. For example, Perrin and Spencer conducted a study of science and engineering students, and he found lower conformity levels. This is because the students are more confident that they are right because they are knowledgable and are less influenced by the apparently 'right' view of the majority. Therefore there are differences in how each individual responds to Informational social influence.

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