2 Types of Conformity:
- Going along with the view even though you do not believe it, trying to be normal - 'normative influence'.
- Going along with the views and internalising them, can happen in situations where you don't know how to act, so look for others on information on how to - 'informative influence'.
Asch - Normative Influence
- lab. ex., independent groups.
- unambiguous task - one where the answer is clear (used a control group to show this).
- groups of 8, pp's judged line lengths by saying which one matched the standard line.
- only one pp in ex., rest confederates.
- each pp did 18 trials, in which 12 the confederates gave the wrong answer.
- people conformed to the majority 37% of the time.
- 75% of people conformed at least once.
- Eval: lab ex - good control of variables & minimises effect of extraneous variables & can repeat study, however lacks ecological validity as it was not a natural situation, ethics - deceived.
- Asch's participants were influenced by situational factors: Group size, Social Support.
Cultural Differences in Conformity
Smith and Bond
- Meta-analysis of over 20 cross-cultural Asch-like studies.
- Average conformity rate was 30%.
- Highest rate was 58% conformity from Indian teachers in Fiji.
- Lowest rates recorded in England and Belgium.
- Conformity levels vary depending on culture.
- Eval: meta-analysis - increased sample size, meta-analysis can ignore/avoid important individual results.
- The findings can be explained by looking at individualistic and collectivist cultures.
- Individualist cultures value independence, eg. the UK.
- Collectivist cultures are more focused on the needs of the whole group, eg. communist China.
Aspects that can influence Independent Behaviour
Internal Locus of Control - more likely to produce independent behaviour as they feel they have control over their behaviour.
External Locus of Control - more likely to conform.
Low self-esteem - more likely to conform.
Crutchfield proposed that there might be a conforming personality type.
- Lab ex.
- Tested whether people would obery orders to shock someone in a seperate room.
- 40 men responded to newspaper ad. seeking volunteers.
- Received payment for attending.
- Each pp was introduced to a confederate (who they assumed was a pp) who acted as the 'learner'.
- Real pp acted as the 'teacher' - initiating shocks.
- 65% administered the full 450V and none stopped before 300V.
- Most showed obvious signs of stress during; sweating, groaning.
- Con: ordinary people will obey orders to hurt someone else, even if it meant acting against their consciences.
- Eval: Pps believed experiment - internal validity, but possibly demand characteristics, not real-life so lacks ecological validity, lab. ec., good control of variables, can establish cause and effect. ethics! werent informed of right to withdraw, but were debriefed.
Factors Affecting Obedience
1) Presence of Allies
2) Proximity of the Victim
3) Proximity of the authority
Milgram's Agency Theory:
- When people behave on behalf of an external authority they are in an 'agentic state', acting as someones agent rather than taking responsibility for the actions.
- Binding factors keeping participants in agentic state: pressure of the surroundings, the insistence of the authority figure, pp's had already been paid so felt obliged to continue.
Why People Obey
1) An Agentic State
2) Gradual Commitment - gradually agreeing in small steps making it harder and harder to refuse.
3) Justified Authorities - we listen to and recognise authority; parents, police, doctors etc.
4) Buffers - protect us from the consequences of our actions, cannot see or hear victim.
Why People Resist Obedience
1) Presence of Allies
2) Individual Differences (high moral reasoning, not being in an Agentic State, boomerang effect - doing the opposite of what they're told as they feel they have been pushed too far.)