Groups and Conformity

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Group - 2+ people who interact for more than a few moments, feel like a group and influence each other by interdependent goals/needs.

Aggregate - a collection of people who don't interact for more than a few moments, don't feel like a group and have independent goals/needs.

Group vs. Aggregate

- Level of interaction

- Feeling

- Interdependent/independent goals/needs.

How to groups form?

Form - getting to know each other, high levels of uncertainty

Storm - resist pressure to confrom, high levels of disagreement

Norm - come together with a common purpose, friendships and bonds form

Perform - work towards a common goal

Adjourn - members leave the group feeling accomplished or failed. 

Factors affecting group formation:

  • People - joining with others in a group depends upon an individuals traits, gender, motives, personal qualities
  • Situation - in ambiguous/dangerous situations more likely to come together, some tasks and goals can only be acheived by a team of people
  • Relationships - when individuals find that they like one another, more likely to form a group.
  • Personality:

- introverts vs. extroverts: extroverts more likely to seek contact and groups with others whereas introverts avoid them. 

- relationality: individuals who adopt values attitudes and outlooks which emphasize connections with others seek out group membership. 

When and why seek out others???

  • Affiliation and social comparison

Ambiguous and uncertain situation - negative feelings and emotions and the need for information - affiliation and social comparison = cognitive clarity

Social comparison = gaining information from others peoples reactions (FESTINGER) 

Group norms

- Norms are ways of behaving and feeling and thinking which the group deems acceptable.

Can be explicit - laws, sanctions and legislations 

Can be implicit - unspoken and social regularities. 

People conform to the groups norms!

  • Conformity to group norms - Asch's line test

-  people were presented with 4 lines, 1 line was standard and 3 were comparison lines, TASK WAS EASY AND UNAMBIGUOUS.

- 6 trials - confederates agreed with correct answer

- 12 trials - confederates gave wrong answer

25 percent refused to be influenced

75 percent conformed to the wrong answer on at least 1 of the trials

Unanimity was critical, less conformity…


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