Social Psychology

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Types of Conformity

Compliance - acting in accord with social pressure but privately disagreeing

Identification - adopt a behaviour as you value group membership and is temporary

Internalisation - a true change of private views


  • Hard to distinguish between compliance and internalisation
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Explanations of Conformity

Normative Influence - conforms to gain approval and avoid social disapproval, must believe they are under suvelliance

Informational Influence - desire to be right looking, need to feel confident in their own views and beliefs


  • Exposure of a non-smoking poster to adolscents
  • Exposure to negative views about African Americans
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Variables Affecting Conformity

ASCH - asked 123 male volunteers to judge which two lines were the same length, conferderates gave an incorrect answer on 12/18 trials and the participants always answered second to last

Findings - conformity rates were 33%

Group size - jumped by 30%

Unanimity of the Majority - 33% to 5.5%

The Difficulty of the Task - High self efficiancy and low self efficiancy


  • Findings are down to the specific time period they were taken in
  • Problem with determing the true effects of group size
  • Only 1/3 of participants conformed
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Conformity to Social Roles

Stanford Prison Experiment - guards became abusive, prisoner became passive and 5 prisoner were released early due to extreme reactions

BBC Prison Experiment - prisoners identified as a group to overcome the prisoner-guard system


  • Conformity to social roles may not be as automatic as Zimbardo believed
  • Responses shown may be down to demand characteristics
  • How ethical was Zimbardo's study
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Situational Factors Affecting Obedience


Proximity - dropped to 40% when in the same room, 30% when forcing their hand on the plate and 21% over the phone

Location - 48% gave the 450 volt shock

Power of Union - police officer 72%, executive 52%, beggar 48%


  • Criticised for his lack of concern
  • Participants have learnt to distrust experimenters
  • Individual differences
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Agentic State and Legitimate Authority

Agentic State - process of shifting responsibilities to another

Agentic State and Self Image - refrain if it reflects a person self image

Binding Factors - social factors

Definition of the Situation and Instiution


  • Fails to explain the gradual and irreversible shift
  • Give a basis for the justification of harm
  • Believed Milgram detected cruelty not agentic shift
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Authoriatarianism Personality

F-Scale -2000

Authoriatarianism Personality - Rigid Thinkers, see the World in Black and White , Follow Rules and a Hierarchy, Comtempt for Lower Social Classes

Elm and Milgram - 20 obedient and 20 disobedient


  • Research comes from a link between obedient participants and the authoriatarian personality
  • Milgram believed it was due to a dispositional factor
  • Suggests some important characteristics of obedient participant
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Resistance to Social Influence

Support and Resisting Conformity - ally 33% to 5.5%

Locus of Control - Internal High (independant) and External High (take less responsibility)


  • There is a historical trend in locus of control scores
  • Research was done into the position of the person providing the support
  • Meta anaylsis research support the locus of control
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Minority Influence

Conversion Theory - Conflict, Majority try to reduce this conflict, minority pushes forward their message for the majority to internalise it

Minority must be committed, consistent and flexible

Moscovici - 4 naiive participants and 2 confederates judging slide colour intensity

Findings - 8% in the consistent condition conformed


  • Research into the role of flexibility
  • May be due to the openness of the mind
  • The view of the minority don't bring about social change as fast as the majority
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Social Influence Processes in Social Change

Minority - draw attention to the issue, creates cognitive conflict, remain consistent in their position, the augmentation principle and the snowball effect

Majority - people change views inline with the majority, mispeception between the norm and the actual belief

Social Norms Intervention - identifies a wide spread misperception within a target population and use media campaigns to correct this


  • History challenges minorities bring about social change quickly (potential for change)
  • Minorities may be seen as deviant
  • Social norms intervention do not always work
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