conformity 12 markers (1-4)

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outline and evaluate explanations of conformity

AO1

conformity can be shown through two explanations;

normative social influence:

  • individuals conform with the expectations of the majority
  • gain approval or avoid social disapproval
  • usually compliance; only conform publicly and not privately

informational social influence:

  • individuals conform as a result of a desire to be right
  • they look to others to gain information or evidence about reality
  • more likely when the situation is ambiguous
  • an example of internalisation as they believe the others are correct

AO3

normative social influence

P:

  • a strength of normative social influence is the fact that there is evidence supporting this explanation

E:

  • Asch (1956)

C1:

  • this shows that 

C2:

  • this means that

informational social influence

P:

  • a strength of informational social influence is the fact that there is evidence supporting this explanation

E:

  • Sherif

C1:

  • this shows that 

C2:

  • this means that 

outline and evaluate variations of Asch

AO1

Asch (1956):

  • 123 male US undergraduates (volunteers)
  • all participants were confederates except one
  • asked to identify matching line lengths
  • conformity was measured on 12 critical trials where all confederates gave the same wrong answer
  • average conformity rate was 33%
  • less than 1% of participants gave a wrong answer in control situation with no confederates
  • majority of participants conformed to avoid disapproval, but did not believe it was the correct answer

variables affecting conformity

group size:

  • very little conformity when majority consisted of just one or two confederates
  • conformity rose to 30% with a majority of three confederates
  • further increases did not increase conformity significantly

unanimity of the majority:

  • conformity dropped to 5.5% when participant had support for the correct answer
  • conformity dropped to 9% when unanimity was broken with a different incorrect answer

difficulty of the task:

  • conformity increased when the correct answer was made less obvious
  • Lucas et al. (2006) found that the influence of task difficulty is moderated by the self-efficacy of the individual

AO3 strength

P:

  • a strength of Asch's study is that the methodology used a non-ambiguous situation to prove conformity

E:

  • the critical trials had right or wrong answers
  • confederates would either answer with the right answer or a wrong answer
  • participants would either get the answer right or conform and get the answer wrong
  • conformity could be proven as less than 1% of answers given in control situations were wrong

C1:

  • this shows that Asch's study was internally valid
  • it suggests that conformity was the only reason for wrong answers given by participants

C2:

  • this means that Asch's study can be used to prove the validity of conformity through normative social influence

AO3 weakness

P:

  • it could be argued that Asch's research is oversimplified as it did not take into account cultural differences in conformity

E:

  • Smith and Bond (2006) meta-analysis
  • 133 Asch type studies across 17 countries
  • average conformity rate for individualist cultures- 25%
  • average conformity rate for collectivist cultures- 37%
  • Markus and Kitayama (1991) higher level of conformity is viewed more favourably in collectivist cultures

C1:

  • this reduces…

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