Social Psychology CONFORMITY
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What is conformity?
Change in behavior or belief as the result of real or imagined group pressure
What are three types of conformity?
Compliance (outward conformity): acting publicly in accord with an implied or explicit request while privately disagreeing
Obedience: acting in according with a direct order or command
Acceptance (inward conformity): acting and believing in accord with social pressure
Sherif’s norm formation (experiment)
Used autokinetic phenomenon then asked groups of men to determine how much the point of light had moved – the responses of the men changed markedly
The point of light never moved
Sherif's studies of norm formation:
- Suggestibility (Social contagion): Contagious
- yawning, comedy laugh tracks
Mood linkage: Being around happy people can make you happy as well
Chameleon effect: Person is more likely to move their foot back and forth if someone else does, too; mirroring grammar that they read.
“Werther effect”: Copy-cat suicides.
Asch’s group pressure study
Six confederates gave incorrect answers to see if participant would agree even if he knew it was the incorrect answer
What did Asch's study find?
People feel pressured to conform, even when there was no obvious pressure to conform or any reward for doing so.
Milgram’s obedience study
Teacher “shocks” learner at the insistence of experimenter
65 percent of participants continued beyond expectations-- go all the way to "xxx"
What Milgram's study showed
Demands of authority (the experimenter) clashed with conscience (is this right?)
What was the main criticism regarding Milgram’s experiment?
experiment stressed the participants against their will
participants’ self-esteem may have been altered
What are four factors which breed obedience?
Victim’s distance or depersonalization: showed the most obedience when they cannot see victim
- Closeness and legitimacy of the authority:
- authority should be physical present and perceived as legitimate
Institutional authority:people obey the order/commands from certain institution with higher social power/reputation
Liberating effects of group influence: heroic firefighter rushed into WTC towers because “they were partly obeying their supervisors, partly conforming to extraordinary group loyalty”
Be able to argue how conformity, especially obedience, resulted in extreme violence and slaughter throughout history (i.e., Nazi, and My Lai)
“I was only following orders”
A small act of evil to foster the attitude that leads to a larger evil act
Blame the victim
- Power of the situation
- - small acts of evil gradually build
- - heat, desease
- - normative pressure
- - "just doing my job"
How foot-in-the-door technique can be applied to the development of evil act?
Doing one small evil act can lead to larger, more evil acts
How a situation would have powerful normative
pressure and influence people’s behavior
we have a desire to be liked and to maintain a social image
We do not want social rejection
What are factors that predict conformity?
- -Group Size
- ~High status people have more impact
- -Public Response
- -No Prior Commitment
- ~Once a person makes a public commitment, they stick to it.
What are two possible explanations of conformity?
- Normative Influence: desire to fulfill other's expectations
- Informational Influence: accept evidence about reality provided by other people; desire to be correct
Who would conform more than the others?
- People conforming to a new role
- People in collectivist cultures
What is a group?
Two or more people who, for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as “us”
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