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Flashcards in SCLOA - Discuss factors influencing conformity Deck (10):


- tendency to change one’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviour
- in ways that agree with a particular individual/group/situation


factors affecting conformity

- group size
- group unanimity
- competence
- culture
- social identity


factors affecting conformity: group size

- the larger the group, the more likely conformity occurs
- Asch (1951): with only 1, 3% conformed; with 2, 14% conformed; and with 3, 32% conformed


factors affecting conformity: group unanimity

Asch (1951):
- when a dissenting confederate was introduced to the group, participant conformity rates decreased from 35% to 5.5%
- particularly if the confederate speaks before the participant
- whether the confederate is correct or not doesn't appear to matter -- what's important is the lack of an unanimous collective opinion


factors affecting conformity: competence

- the individual's own sense of competence in making decisions also plays a part
- higher competence = lower chances of conforming
- Perrin and Spencer (1988): upon replication of Asch (1951) with medical and engineering students, conformity rates were nearly 0%


factors affecting conformity: culture

Berry (1967):
- replicated Asch (1951) with Temne people and Inuits
- found that Temne people conformed significantly more
- likely due to the cooperative nature of their economy
- in contrast, Inuits forage for resources individually


factors affecting conformity: social identity

- conformity is about adhering to in-group norms
- to allow a greater sense of belongingness to our in-group
- thus forming and maintaining social identities we want
- so we are more likely to conform to the norms of groups we believe we belong to

Supporting study: Abrams et al (1990)


Abrams et al (1990) - Procedure

1. replicated Asch (1951) with psychology students using 3 confederates
2. 2 conditions:
- in-group: participants led to believe confederates were fellow psychology students
- out-group: participants led to believe confederates were history students
3. All group members had to respond publicly


Abrams et al (1990) - findings and conclusion

- 100% of the in-group condition participants conformed at least once
- only 50% of the out-group condition participants conformed at least once
- thus we are far more influenced by groups we feel we belong to


what to write when asked "discuss factors influencing conformity"

- define conformity
- group size: Asch (1951)
- group unanimity: Asch (1951)
- culture: Berry (1967)
- education: Perrin and Spencer (1988)
- in-group/out-group: Abrams et al. (1990)

- include background info/reasons for every point
- give a balanced review offering evaluative comments about the issue you are discussing
- discuss your own opinions and evidence to support your opinions

when discussing a theory/model:
• state strengths and limitations with empirical evidence AND evaluate those empirical studies
• discuss the usefulness of a certain theory by mentioning possible applications and how effective and universal these applications are
• compare to an alternative theory
• discuss the extent to which the theory can be universally applied – are the explanations culturally- or gender-specific?
• evaluate sources: is the theory based on methodologically questionable empirical evidence?

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