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Deutsch and Gerard (1955)

- Deutsch and Gerard (1955) developed a Two-Process theory and identified why people conform: the desire to be accepted and the desire to be right.
- To be right = Informational Social Influence
- To be liked + Normative Social Influence


Normative Social Influence

- People have a fundamental need for social approval and acceptance
- We therefore avoid any behaviour that will make others reject or ridicule us
- This leads us to copy the behaviour of others in order to 'fit in'
- Studies have shown that people like those who are similar to them and so conformity can be an effective strategy to ensure we fit in with a group.


What is NSI likely to lead to?

NSI is likely to lead to compliance, where people will agree publicly with the group but privately they do not change their personal options.


Informational Social Influence

- People have a fundamental need to be right and to have an accurate perception of reality.
- Individuals may make objective tests against reality but if this is not possible they will rely on the opinions of others to check if they are correct and use this as evidence about reality.
- ISI is more likely to happen if the situation is ambiguous or when others are experts


What is ISI likely to lead to?

ISI leads to internalisation, where people publically and privately change their opinions to be in line with the majority


Evaluation: NSI: Asch (1951)

- Asch (1951) asked participants to say which of three test lines was the same as the standard line.
- Participants were in a group with confederates who purposefully gave the same wrong answer, even though the correct answer was obvious.
- In 33% of the trials the participants conformed due to NSI
- After the experiment they claimed that they knew the correct answer but were worried that the group would ridicule them.


Evaluation: ISI: Jenness (1932)

- Jenness (1932) asked participants to estimate how many beans they thought were in a jar.
- Each made an estimation first and then do the same as a group.
- He found that when the task was carried out in a group, the participants would report estimates of roughly the same value (even though the indiv estimates were v different)
- This is an example of ISI as participants would be uncertain about the actual number so they are influenced by the group


Evaluation: ISI: Sherif (1935)

- Sherif (1935) used the autokinetic effect to investigate conformity in an ambiguous situation
- Autokinetic effect is when a small spot of light appears to move in a dark room even though it's still (negative: they were asked a LEADING QUESTION)
- When participants were asked indiv their estimates varied considerably.
- When tested in groups of 3 with 2 people having similar estimates and 1 having a different one
- Each person had to say aloud their estimates and over numerous estimates, the group converged to common estimate


Evaluation: Dispositional factors

- Dispositional factors may also impact whether or not a person conforms.
- Research shows that not all show NSI or ISI
- For example, individuals who are not concerned about being liked are less affected by NSI
- People who want to be liked are described as nAffiliators
- High need of affiliation makes you more likely to conform
- People with high self esteem are less resistant to conformity


Evaluation: Lab tests

- Many of the studies carried out were in lab conditions
- Lack ecological validity
- Participants could have showed demand characteristics