Types of Conformity & Explanations

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Conformity: Internalisatoin

A deep form type of conformity where we take on the majority view because we accept it as correct. It leads to a far-reaching and permanent change in behaviour, even when the group is absent.

- Occurs when a person genuinley accpets the group norm

- This resuls in a private as well as public change of opinion/behaviour

- This change is liekly to be permanent because attitudes have been internalised i.e. become part of they way the person thinks

- The change in opinions/behaviour persists even in the absence of other group members

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Conformity: Identification

A moderae type of conformity where we act i nthe same way with the group because we value it and want to be part of it. But we don't necessarily agree with everything the maority believes.

- Sometimes we conform to the opinions/behaviour of a group because there is something about that group we value

- We idenify with the group, so we want to be a par tof it

- This may mean we publicly change our opinions/behaviour to achieve this goal, even if we don't privately agree with everything the group stands for

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Conformity: Compliance

a superficial and temporary type of conformity where we outwardly go along withthe majority view, but privately disagree with it. The change in our behaviour only lasts as long as the group is monitoring us.

- This type of conformity involved simply 'going along with others' in public

- But privately not changing personal opinions and/or behaviour

- Compliance results in only a superficial change

- It also means that a particular behaviour or opininon stops as soon as group pressure stops

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Informational Social Influence (ISI)

An explanation of conformity that says we agree with the opinion of the majority view because we believe it is correct. We accept it because we want to be correct as well. This may lead to internalisation.

- Is about who has the better information - you or the rest of the group

- Often we are uncertain about what behaviours or belifefs are gith ot wrong

- The reasong indivudal follow he behaviour of the group (the majority) is because people want to be right 

- ISI is a cognitive process because it is to do with what you think

- ISI is most likely to happen in situations that are new to a person (so you don't know what is right) or situation where there is soem ambiguity, so it isn't clear what is right

- It is also typical in crisis situations where decisions have to be made quickly

- It also occurs when one person (or group) is regarded as being more of an expert

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Normative Social Influence (NSI)

An explanation of conformity that says we agree with the opinion of the majorty because we want to be accepted, gain social approval na dbe liked. this may lead to compliance.

- Is about norms i.e. what is 'normal' or typical behaviour for a social group

- Norms regulate the behaviour of groups and individuals so it is not srprising that we opay attention to them

- People do not like to appear foolish and prefer to gain social approval rather than be rejected

- So NSI is an emotianl rather than a cognitive process

- NSI is most likely to occur in situations with strangers where you may feel concerned about rejection

- It may also occur with people you know because you are most concerned about the social approval of our friends

- It may be more pronouced in stressful situations where people have a greater need for social support

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Evaluation: Research Support for ISI

Lucas et al. (2006)

- Asked students to give answers to mathematical problems that were easy or more difficult

- There was greater conformity to incorrect answers when they were difficult rather than when they were easier oes

- This was most true for studenst who rated their mathematical ability as poor

- The study shows that people conform in situations where they feel they don't know the answer, which is exactly the outocme predicted by the ISI explanation

- We look to other people and assume they know better than us and must be right

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Evaluation: Individual Differences in NSI

- Some research shows that NSI does not affect everyone's behaviour in the same way

- For example, people who are less concerned with being liked are less affected by NSI than those who care more about being liked

- Such people are described as nAffiliators 

- These are people have greater need for 'affiliation' - a need for being in a relationship with others

- For example, McGhee & Teevan (1967) 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: ISI & NSI Work Together

- The idea of Deutsch and gerrard's 'two-process' approach is tha tbehaviour is either due to NSI or ISI

- But the truth is that, more often, both processes are involved

- For example, conformity is reduced when there is one other dissenting participant in the Asch experiment 

- This dissernter may reduce the power of ISI (because the dissenter provide social support) or may reduce the power of ISI (because there is an alternative source of information)

- This shows that it isn't always possible to be sure whether NSI or ISI is at work

- This is the case in lab studies, but is even truer in real-life conformity situations outside the lab

- This casts serious doubt over the view of ISI and NSI as two processes operating independently in conforming behaviour

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