- Created by: taliaquinn
- Created on: 09-10-18 18:39
Types of conformity
- IDENTIFICATION - We conform to opinions/behaviour of a group because there is something about that group that we value. We identify with the group, so we want to be part of it. We may publicly change our opinions/behvaiour to achieve this goal, even if we don't privately agree.
- INTERNALISATION - When a person genuinely accepts the group norms. Results in a private & public change of opinions/behaviour. This change is likely to be permanent because attitudes have been internalised. Change in opinions/behaviour persists even in the absence of other group members.
- COMPLIANCE - Simply 'going along with others' in public, but privately not changing personal opinions and behaviour. Results in only a superficial change. Also means that a particular behaviour or opinion stops as soon as group pressure stops.
Explanations for conformity
--> Deutsch & Gerard (1955) developed a two-process theory, arguing that there are two main reasons people conform - based on 2 central human needs : the need to be right (ISI) and the need to be liked (NSI).
INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE (ISI)
- Who has the better information - you or the rest of the group. Often we are uncertain about what behaviours or beliefs are right or wrong. (eg may not know the answer to a qu in class, but if most of the class agrees on 1 answer, you accept that answer as you feel they are likely to be right).
- We follow the behaviour of the group/majority because people want to be right. ISI = cognitive process as it is to do with what you think.
- Most likely to happen: new situations, ambiguous situations, crisis situations, when someone is an expert
NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE (NSI)
- Is about norms - what is 'normal' or typical behaviour for a social group. Norms regulate the behaviour of groups and individuals so we pay attention to them as we don't want to appear foolish & prefer to gain social approval than rejection. NSI = emotional rather than cognitive.
- Most likely to happen: situations with strangers where you feel concerned about rejection, people you know (because we are most concerned about the social approval of our friends), stressful situation
Evaluations of Types & Explanations for conformity
(+) Research support for ISI
- When Asch increased the difficulty of his task, conformity increased - we look to others and assume they're right. This is predicted by ISI.
(-) Individual differences in NSI
- Research shows NSI doesn't affect everyone's behaviour in the same way.
- nAffiliators - people who are concerned with being liked are more affected by NSI those who don't care about being liked. These people have need for being in a relationship with others.
- Shows that the desire to be liked underlies conformity for some people more than others.
(-) ISI and NSI work together
- Idea of process is that you are either NSI or ISI.
- Asch: With dissenter, conformity is reduced as it reduces the power of NSI (dissenter provides social support) and ISI (alternative source of information)
- Not always possible to be sure whether NSI or ISI is at work - in lab studies, but even truer in real-life conformity situations outside the lab.
Conformity: Asch's reasearch
- Asked them to say which line was the same as the standardised line. Participants = male american undergraduates. 6 confederates, 1 participant.
- 1st few trials = confederates gave right answers, then started making errors (same wrong answer). Did 18 trials, 12 of which were 'critical trials', where the confeds gave wrong answer.
- Participant gave te wrong answer 36.8% of the time.
- 25% of the participants did not conform on any trials, so 75% conformed at least once.
- Asch effect - term used to describe this result - extent to which participants conform even when the situation is unambiguous.
- When ppts were interviewed afterwards, most said they conformed to avoid rejection (NSI)
- 3 confeds giving wrong answer- conformity rose to 31.8%.
- Addition of further confeds made little difference - no need for majority of more than 3.
- Dissenter disagreed with others - reduced conformity
- Enabled ppt to behave more independently
- Suggests influence of majority depends to some extent on the group being unanimous.
- Made it harder - more similar in length = increased conformity
- ISI plays a greater role when the task is harder, as the situation is more ambiguous, so we look to others for guidance.
Evaluation of Asch
(-) Not same for all/ Child of its time
- Perrin & Spencer (1980) repeated the study and found one student conformed out of 396 trials.
- 1950s (when Asch did his experiement) may have been a more conformist time in America, therefore it made sense to conform to established soical norms.
- Asch effect is not consistent across situations & may not be consistent across time.
(-) Artificial situation & task
- Knew they were in a research study & may have gone along with the situation (high demand characteristics)
- The groups they were in did not resemble the groups that we are part of in everyday life - can't be generalised to everyday situations.
(-) Limited application of findings
- Only men tested, women may be more conformist, possibly because they were more concerned about social relationships.
- Men were only from the USA whcih has an individualist culture. Collectivist cultures had higher rates of conformity. Ethnocentrism.
Stanford prison experiment - Zimbardo
Conformity to social roles.
- Basement of psychology department - Stanford University. Students were randomly assigned to prisoners or guards.
- Prisoners were arrested in their homes - realism as blindfolded and by actual police, ***** searched, given uniform and a number.
- Social roles strictly divided - 16 rules prisoners had to follow - they were only called by their number.
- Guards - had a wooden club, handcuffs, keys & had complete power over the prisoners.
- Guards behaviour became a threat to prisoner's psychological & physical health - study stopped after 6 days instead of 14.
- Prisoners rebelled within 2 days. Guards harrassed constantly. After rebellion, prisoners became subdued, depressed & anxious. 1 was released on the first day, 2 released on 4th due to symptoms of psychological disturbance.
- 1 went on a hunger strike - guards punished him by putting him in the 'hole' (a dark closet).
- Therefore, they conformed to roles & behaved like they were in an actual prison.
Evaluation of Zimbardo
(+) Some control
- Eg over the selection of his participants - emotionally stable individuals were chosen & randomly assigned - there were no individual personality differences
- Increases the internal validity
(-) Lack of realism
- Merely play acting rather than conforming? Based on stereotypes (eg - one guard based his role on a brutal character from the film 'Cool Hand Luke')
- However, quantitative data was gathered during, which showed that 90% of the prisoners' conversations were about prison life = real to the participants
(-) Role of dispositional influences
- May have minimised the role of personality factors - exaggerated the power of the situation, as only 1/3 of the guards behaved brutally, 1/3 applied the rules fairly, and 1/3 tried to help & support the prisoners (eg - by offering them cigarettes & reinstating privileges)
- His conclusion that ppts conformed to social roles = may be over-stated.