social influence - conformity
social influence - conformity
research into conformity
procedure - Asch used a laboratory study to investigate conformity. he used 123 US male undergraduate participants. using a line task ,Asch put a participant in a room with 7 confederates who had all agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task - the real participant didn't know this and was led to believe the confederates were real participants like themselves. Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line A, B or C was most like the target line . the answer was always wrong - the real participant was sat between Confederates 4 and 6 and gave their answer second to last. in some trails the 7 Confederates gave the obvious answer. there were 18 trials and the Confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trails . Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority
aim - to see how the lone 'real' participant would react to the behavior of the Confederates
the difficulty of the task - in one variation Asch made differences between line lengths smaller so the correct answer was less obvious and conformity decreased
the unanimity of the majority - in the original study all confederates unanimously gave the same wrong answer but when the real participant is given the support of either a confederate or another real participant conformity reduced - reducing the % of wrong answer from the real participant from 33% to 5.5%
group size - very little conformity when the majority was just one or 2 confederates but under the pressure of 3 majority conforming responses = 30% - but no further increase in size increases conformity - so size is only important up to a point
as judgment = motivation to fit in
types of conformity
- an individual adopts a behavior/ attitude to be a particular role or group e.g. Zimbardo's experiment with guards and prisoners
also only temporary and in public
- an individual goes along with the group because the content of the attitude or behavior proposed is consistent with their own value system
deepest form of conformity
change behavior publicly and privately and is permanent
e.g. smoking in public and private permanently
- individuals go along with the views of the majority to fit in and be liked
behaviour is only temporary and in public
e.g. smoking to fit in with the cool people who smoke at school
explanations to conformity
informational social influence
- motivated by the desire to be correct/right and relies on the knowledge of others
thinks others are right and wants to be right too
P - strength of ISI as an explanation of conformity is there's research support demonstrating how exposure to other's beliefs has an influence on social stereotypes
E - evident researchers found participants exposed to negative information about African Americans , which they were led to believe was the opinion of the majority, later reported more negative beliefs about a black individual.
E - suggests individuals are motivated to change their behavior to be correct with others giving the explanation validity.
L- this therefore highlights a strength of ISI as an explanation of conformity as research support highlights how individuals change their behavior to be like the majority to feel right
P - weakness of ISI as an explanation of conformity is that features of the task can moderate the impact of the majority.
E- evident as some judgments can be determined through objective, physical means such as statistics while other judgments such as deciding whether Bristol is the most fun city in the south west of england cannot be made using objective criteria because such criteria doesn't exist.
E- suggests majorities exert a greater influence on social issues rather than physical issues.
L - this therefore demonstrates a weakness of ISI as an explanation of conformity as social judgments have a greater impact of majority influence than physical influence.
normative social influence
- an individual goes along with the majority without really accepting their point of view to gain approval or to avoid disapproval
P - strength NSI as an explanation of conformity research support which shows the relationship between people's normative beliefs and the likely of them taking up smoking
E - evident as researchers found adolescents exposed to the message the majority of their peers didn't smoke are less likely to take up smoking.
E- suggests that individuals do shape their behaviour to fit in and gain the approval of the majority group giving the explanation validity.
L - this therefore highlights a strength of NSI as an explanation of conformity as there's research evidence indicating how individuals change their behavior to fir in with the majority of peers
P - weakness of NSI as an explanation of conformity is some research shows that NSI doesn't affect everyone's behavior in the same way. E - evident as some people are more concerned with being liked and some less. Researchers have found that students in high need of affiliation (a need for being in a relationship with others) were more likely to conform. E- suggests that the desire to be liked underlies conformity for some people more than others , which causes individual differences in the way they respond. L- this therefore demonstrates a weakness of NSI as an explanation of conformity as there's research evidence highlighting that individual differences mean NSI doesn't affect everyone's behavior in the same way.
research into social roles