Explanations of independent behaviour

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Resisting Pressures to Conform

  • Insights from Asch's studies - the role of allies
  • Asch showed in one variable how the introduction of another dissident gave social support to an individual and caused conformity rates to reduce.
  • Dissident gave them a chance to assess their own decision and feel more confident with the majority. 
  • IF the support is not particularly true or valid, three conditions in Asch type task. In one supporter had poor vision and in the next normal vision. Both reduced conformity But valid had much more impact\


  • People may be more likely to maintain independence if the view is moral rather than physical. 
  • Most evidence for conformity comes about from physical judgements. 
  • This is relatively minor compared to interpersonal beliefs. 
  • IF the task involves judgements with a moral dimension, costs to ones integrity may be higher.
  • Hornsey et al found remarkably little movement towards the majority on attitudes with moral significance for individual even when this involved public behaviours

Resisting Pressures to Obey

  • Insights from Milgram's study
  • High proportion of individuals gave maximum shock yet others defied exeprimenter and withdrew before. 
  • Milgram was keen to understand the situational factors we=here people felt able to defy the authority figure. 
  • When the study was moved to


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