social cue cards

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  • Created by: mehmuna
  • Created on: 17-06-13 14:56

What is conformity?


When the minority goes along with the majority

Types of conformity


 Internalisation: Where the views and opinions of the majority become your own, and you maintain these views even if you leave the group


Compliance: Where you publicly go along with the views and opinions of the majority, but privately maintain your own views.

Explanations of conformity


Normative social influence: We conform because we think it will make us appear ‘normal’ to the group and they will accept us


Informative social influence: We conform because we do not know how to behave, so we ‘copy’ what the rest of the group is doing

Evaluation of Normative influence


Key study to support: Asch (1951)

Method: Lab experiment

Sample: 1 genuine participant out of a group of 7/8 the rest of the group were confederates

Procedure: 6 ‘control trials’ were confederates did not all agree with each other, 12 ‘critical trials’ where all confederates gave wrong answer of comparison line

Findings: in control trials, 0.7% gave wrong answer, in critical trials 37% gave wrong answer


+ high control so high internal validity


-          study is a lab study so low in E.V – does it tell us about normative influence in real life?

-          Study is outdated, so lacks historical validity



Evaluation of informative social influence


Key Study: Sherif (1935)

Method: Lab experiment

IV = estimation alone or estimation in a group

Participants shown an ambiguous task, testing the autokinetic light effect

Results: On their own, participants gave stable estimates, in a group they changed their estimates so their was a stable answer for the group


+ Highly controlled so high internal validity


-          lab experiment – does it tell us about informative social influence in real life? Low in E.V

-          Outdated so may lack historical validity

Conformity to social roles


Zimbardo et al (1973)

Method: Controlled observation

Sample: well adjusted male volunteers paid $15 a day

Procedure: Assigned to role of prisoner or guard, and observed

Findings: Guards became increasingly hostile towards prisoners who became helpless, people conformed to their social roles rather than this being due to a pre disposition to be evil



Factors affecting conformity


Group size: Asch repeated study and found with 2 confederates, conformity was 13% on critical trials vs. 33% when confederates rose to 3


Status and Knowledge: If someone is of high status, or has lots of knowledge they will be more influential and so people will be more likely to conform



Acting a response to a direct order from an authority figure


Milgram (1963)

Method: Controlled observation

Sample: 40 men from a range of occupations responded to adverts

Procedure: Paired with a ‘learner’ who was really a confederate, gave shocks ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts (these were not real but participant thought they were) for every wrong answer to word pair.



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