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Flashcards in Conformity Deck (14):


A change in a person's behaviour or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a group of people (majority).


Social influence

How people are influenced by others, either by a group (majority influence) or an individual (minority influence or obedience), to change our behaviour, thinking or attitudes.


Minority influence

A form of social influence in which a minority of people (sometimes just one person) persuade others to adopt their beliefs, attitudes or behaviours.


Normative social influence

An explanation of conformity that says we agree with the opinion of the majority because we want to be accepted, gain social approval and be liked. This may lead to compliance.


Informational social influence

An explanation of conformity that says we agree with the opinion of the majority because we believe it is correct. We accept it because we want to be correct as well. This may lead to internalisation.


Individualist cultures

People's behaviour is determined primarily by personal goals that may or may not overlap the goals of their collective (friends, family etc)


Collectivist cultures

Social behaviour is determined largely by goals shared with the collective.


Meta analysis

Analysing the results of a collection of previous studies investigating the same thing.



A form of social influence in which an individual follows a direct order. The person issuing the order is usually a figure of authority, who has the power to punish when obedient behaviour is not forthcoming.


Social change

This occurs when whole societies, rather than just individuals, adopt new attitudes, beliefs and ways of doing things. Examples include accepting that the earth orbits the sun, women's suffrage and gay rights.


Social support

The presence of people who resist pressures to conform or obey can help others to do the same. These people act as models to show others that resistance to social influence is possible.


Locus of control

Refers to the sense we each have about what directs events in our lives. Internals believe they are mostly responsible for what happens to them. Externals believe it is mainly a matter of luck.


Agentic state

A mental state where we feel no personal responsibility for our behaviour because we believe ourselves to be acting for an authority figure. This frees us from the demands of our consciences and allows us to obey even a destructive authority figure.


Legitimacy of authority

An explanation for obedience which suggests that we are more likely to obey people who we perceive to have authority over us. This authority is justified by the individuals position of power within a social hierarchy.