Conformity Essay

1201 words - 5 pages

CONFORMITYSOCIAL INFLUENCEWe all have a strong sense of wanting to be like (and to be liked by) other people, and to do what we are told. These issues all relate to social influence which "involves the exercise of social power, by a person or group to change the attitudes or behavior of others in a particular direction" (FRANZOI 1996)2 common kinds of social power are Conformity ObedienceConformity"A change in behavior or belief as a result of real or imagined group pressures" (MYERS 1996)PART A of EXAM QUESTION1. Why do people conform?People might conform because of informational influence such as where they do not know the answer to the question, they are influenced by the opinion of others, this is called informational social influence shown in the classic study by SHERIFF (1935) Autokinetic effect study (a stationary spot of light in a dark room, very small eye movements appeared to make the light seem to move firstly everyone was tested separately then in groups of 3. Group norm quickly replaced personal norms indicating social influence). People might also conform they believe in the superior knowledge of others. This would lead people to change their private opinion, this is known as true conformity.3 different kinds of conformity = 10 marks each2. Are there different types of conformity?KELMAN (1958) has used the distinction of that conformity can be related to the extent to which an individual changes their private and/or public opinion. He has used this distinction to outline 3 different kinds of conformity.COMPLIANCE involves going along with the majority of people even though not really agreeing with them. As the conformity is only superficial, compliance stops when there is no pressure to conform. In a sense this is not true conformity, going with the flow and agreeing with others to fit in with the crowd. This conformity normally stops when the size of the crowd is 16 compliance does not appear to change after this. The bigger the group conformity is, the harder it is for the person/people not conforming to hold their own view. A good example of this would be the study conducted by ARCH (1951-1956) UNAMBIGOUS CONFORMITY (where 7 people all sat looking at a display and asked by answering out loud which of the lines A B or C was the same length as line X the confederates in the group all agreed that they were the same. The one true participant agreed 37% of the time)IDENTIFICATION as seen in society by reacting to someone in a particular way because for example they are wearing a uniform such as a nurse. The individual identifies with a role and this leads to conformity to a "norm". There may still be no change to personal opinion. ZIMARDO (1973) STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT (conform to uniform) is an example of how the person wearing the uniform behaves in a manner that is expected of the role in which the uniform has been...

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