Conformity Flashcards Preview

Social Influence > Conformity > Flashcards

Flashcards in Conformity Deck (24)
Loading flashcards...

What is conformity?

A change in a persons behaviour or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or a group of people.


What are the 3 TYPES of conformity?



What is internalisation?

- Genuinely accept group norms.
- Change of behaviour/opinion is likely to be permanent.
- Private and public change of opinion/behaviour.
- The change of behaviour/opinion persists even in the absence of other group members.


What is identification?

- We conform because there is something about the group that we value.
- We identify as we want to be part of the group.
- Publicly change opinion/behaviour even if we don't privately agree with everything the group stands for.


What is compliance?

- Superficial and temporary type of conformity.
- Publicly and outwardly go along with the majority view, but privately disagree.
- The change in behaviour only occurs in the presence of the group.


What are the 2 EXPLANATIONS for conformity?

Informational social influence (ISI)
Normative social influence (NSI)


What is ISI?

- We agree with the opinion of the majority because we believe it is correct.
- We accept it because we want to be correct.
- We believe they know better or have more information than us.


What is NSI?

- We agree with the opinion of the majority because we want to be accepted, gain social approval and be liked.
- Don't want to be rejected.


State 2 positives of the explanations for conformity.

Research support for ISI:
- Lucas et al.
- Asked students mathematical questions, found greater conformity to incorrect answers when they were difficult.
- Most true for students who rated their mathematical ability as poor.
Research support for NSI:
- Asch, asked why participants went along with the clearly incorrect answer.
- Participants said they felt self conscious about giving the correct answer and afraid of disapproval.
- When participants wrote down answers instead, conformity decreased to 12.5%.


State 2 negatives of the explanations for conformity.

Individual differences in NSI:
- nAffiliators - greater need for being in a relationship with others.
- People who are less concerned with being liked are less effected by NSI.
ISI and NSI work together:
- Asch, conformity decreased with a dissenting participant.
- Dissenter reduced power of NSI as they provided social support.
- Dissenter reduced power of ISI as they offered an alternative source of information.


Who conducted research into conformity?

Asch (1951)


What was the procedure of Asch's study?

- 2 white cards (standard line vs 3 comparison lines).
- Participants had to pick which of the 3 lines was the same length as the standard line.
- 123 white, American, male undergraduates.
- Each naive participant was tested individually with 6-8 confederates.
- Confederates all gave the wrong answers on 12 out of the 18 trials per participant.


What were the findings of Asch's study?

- Naive participant gave wrong answer 36.8% of the time.
- 75% of participants conformed at least once.
- When interviewed afterwards, participants said they conformed to avoid rejection (NSI).


What 3 variations of his study did Asch do?

1. Group size
2. Unanimity
3. Task difficulty


What were the findings in Asch's group size variation study?

- Asch found that with 3 confederates conformity to the wrong answer rose to 31.8%.
- The addition of further confederates made little difference.


What were the findings in Asch's unanimity variation study?

- Presence of another, non conforming, person would affect the naive participants conformity.
- Introduced a confederate who disagreed with the others.
- The presence of a dissenting confederate meant that conformity was reduced by a quarter from the level it was when the majority was unanimous.


What were the findings in Asch's task difficulty variation study?

- Made stimulus line and comparison lines more similar in length.
- Conformity increased, so ISI is greater when task becomes harder.


State 4 criticisms of Asch's study.

Child of its time:
- Perrin and Spencer (UK engineering students, 1/396 trials).
- Asch effect is not consistent across situations and time, so it not a fundamental feature of human behaviour.
Artificial situation and task:
- Participants knew they were in a research study - demand characteristics.
- Can't generalise to everyday situations.
Limited application of findings:
- All participants male, white, american students (individualist culture).
- Conformity increases in collectivist cultures.
- Gender and cultural differences not taken into account.
Ethical issues:
- Participants deceived - confederates.


Who conducted research into conformity to social roles?



What was the procedure of the Stanford Prison Experiment?

- Mock prison set up in basement of psychology department at Stanford university.
- Advertised for students willing to volunteer and then selected 'emotionally stable' participants after extensive psychological testing.
- Randomly assigned roles of guard or prisoner.
- Heightened realism - arrested, deloused, strip searched, assigned uniform and number.
- Prisoner's names never used, only numbers.
- Guards issued uniform (wooden club, handcuffs, keys and mirror shades).
- Guards told they had complete power over prisoners.


What were the findings of the Stanford Prison Experiment?

- Study stopped after 6 days instead of the intended 14.
- Within 2 days prisoners rebelled against their harsh treatment by the guards.
- Prisoners harassed by guards - frequent headcounts etc.
- 1 prisoner released on the 1st day as he showed signs of psychological disturbance.
- 2 more released on the 4th day.
- 1 prisoner went on hunger strike - force fed and put in 'the hole'.


What conclusions can we draw from the Stanford Prison Experiment?

- Guards, prisoners and researchers all conformed to their roles within the mock prison.
- Study demonstrated the power of the situation to influence behaviour.


State a positive of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

- Selection of participants - emotionally stable and then randomly assigned to eliminate individual personality differences as an explanation for findings.
- Increases internal validity.


State 3 criticisms of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

Lack of realism:
- Banuazizi and Mohavedi - merely play acting.
- Cool Hand Luke
- Quantitative data - 90% of the prisoners conversations were about prison life - situation was real to them.
Role of dispositional factors:
- Only 1/3 of guards acted in a brutal manner.
- 1/3 wanted to enforce the rules fairly.
- The rest actively tried to help prisoners and sympathised with them.
- Guards were able to exercise right and wrong choices, despite the situation pressures to conform to a role.
Ethical issues.