Caitlyn Grayston
Note by Caitlyn Grayston, updated more than 1 year ago


AS level Psychology (Conformity) Note on Conformity, created by Caitlyn Grayston on 05/12/2017.

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Types of Conformity: Compliance - conforming simply because of expectations and with no convictions e.g. a supporter finds themselves in with the wrong fans so starts supporting the wrong team Identification - conforming with conviction while with a relative group but not while away from them e.g. a gang member who acts 'hard' when with the gang but goes home and does the washing up Internalisation - conformity with complete conviction e.g. someone who completely converts to a religion Explanations of Conformity:Deutsch and Gerard developed a two process theory, arguing that there are two main reasons people conform. They are based on two central human needs; the need to be right and the need to be liked. Informational Social Influence - conforming so you know what to do. Often we are uncertain about what behaviours/beliefs are right or wrong so people look to others that they think know better and copy them in order to be right e.g. someone at a dinner party looking around to see what knives and forks to use if there is a choice Normative Social Influence - conforming to be accepted. People do not like to appear foolish and prefer to gain social approval rather than be rejected e.g. wearing a dress/suit to a formal occasion so you don't look odd

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Asch - Conformity Experiment: Asch wanted to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a minority group could affect a person to conform 50 male students participated in Asch's line judgement task The participants were put into groups with 6 confederates Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious The real participant sat next to the confederate that was at the end of the row. The confederates gave the obvious wrong answer which tested whether the participant would follow the confederates and give the wrong answer or be independent and give the right answer The naive participant gave the wrong answer 36.8% of the time 25% of participants did not conform on any trial meaning 75% conformed at least once Participants and confederates knew they were in a study so may have acted differently Conformity may differ when around friends/family than when around strangers Task was not very real - lacks ecological validity America in the 1950s was a very conformist society - may not be the same today Women might be more conformist possibly because they are more concerned about social relationships than men

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Asch Variations: Group size - he wanted to know whether the size of the group would be more important than the agreement of the group. With 3 confederates, conformity rose to 31.8%. With 6 confederates conformity was 36.8%. But the addition of further confederates made little difference. This suggest that a small majority is not sufficient for influence to be exerted but at the other extreme there is no need for a majority more than 6 Unanimity - he wanted to know if the presence of another non-conforming person would affect the naive participants conformity. To test this he introduced a confederate who disagreed with the others. The presence of a disagreeing confederate meant that conformity was reduced by 25%. It enabled the naive participant to behave independently. This suggests that the influence of the majority depends on some extent to the group being unanimous. Task difficulty - Asch made the line judgement task more difficult by making the target and comparison lines more similar in length. Conformity increased under these conditions. This suggests that ISI plays a greater role when the task is more ambiguous so we are more likely to look to other people for guidance

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