Conformity Key Terms
-Social Influence: the influence of a group or individual to change the attitudes or behaviours of others
-Majority Social Influence: The influence of a large group to change the attitudes and/or behaviours of a small group or an individual
Kelman (1958) suggested there were different types of conformity:
-conforms both publicly AND privately (changing behaviours and attitudes)
-Conforms publicly but NOT privately (change behaviours but not attitudes)
Compliance- When you go along with others in public, but privately have not changed personal opinions. Occurs when an individual conforms to behaviours of majority, but not attitudes. Involves public conformity only, usually only temporary, stops when there is no group pressure.
Using 123 male, students in America (who were American, volunteers were told the study was a perception of lines and they had to answer which line (A/B/C) matched the standard line.
Strength of Asch
This study can be praised for ease of replication. This is because it was a highly controlled lab study with a standardised procedure of a standard line and three comparison lines.It was also well documented, and some of the studies were filmed. This is a strength because it increases the study's validity.
Factors affecting conformity
-size of group
Task difficulty (task ambiguity): Greater conformity rates are seen when the task difficulty increases as the right answer becomes less obvious. Asch increased the task difficulty by making the comparison lines more similar to each other and found this lead to an increase in conformity levels.
-Direct order from someone perceived to be authority
-Occurs within a hierarchy. An individual feels that the person above them has the right to prescribe that behaviour
-Emphasis on power: linking ones own status to another individual's status
Milgram's Original Obedience Study 1963)
Milgram was looking for the answer as to why the German population had followed Hitler's orders and allowed the slaughter of over 10 million Jews, Gypsies and other social groups during WW2.
The genuine participants were paired with a confederate (Known as Mr Wallace). The experiment was fixed so that each time the genuine participant would be the teacher and the confederate would be the learner. The confederate also reported to suffer from a heart condition, but was told the shocks were harmless
The teacher was told to begin a word association test, if the learner got an answer wrong the teacher was told to shock them. After each wrong answer he was told to increase the voltage of the electric shock. The voltage started at 15 volts and went up to 450 volts.
-65% of participants went up to 450 volts
-100% of participants got to 300 volts
-There were clear effects on the participants who showed signs of severe stress, leading to some having uncontrollable seizures.
Milgram's Methodological Criticisms
-Milgram's study can be criticised for having low population validity. This is because there were only 40 participants, all males who were between the ages of 25-50 (adults). This is bad because it cannot be generalised to wider populations die to there being no women of younger participants involved.