Conformity: Behavioral Assessment

Topics: Conformity, Psychology, Sociology Pages: 5 (1515 words) Published: May 10, 2013
Conformity - Behavioral Assessment
Barbara Carney
May 13, 2013

Conformity - Behavioral Assessment
“Many forms of social conformity exist but a correct definition would realize it as a phenomenon that occurs when an individual’s values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitude are influenced by either one person (minority influence), or by a group of people (majority influence) who establish norms” (Sadat, 2011, p. 2). During conformity people change the way they behave in response to social pressures. Whether it has been consciously or unconsciously, by accepting the dominant culture’s expectation, one has conformed. What people say and how they behave are vastly influenced by others (Sadat, 2011). Another way to look at it is, “The tendency to behave in ways that comply with social norms that are contrary to one’s private beliefs is known as conformity” (Scher & Thompson, 2007, p. 1). Whether it is a college student giving in to the peer pressure and drinking or using drugs or conforming to a government or society that promotes genocide, the issue of conformity can explain behaviors. Personality traits may play a major role in affecting the level of one’s conformity (Scher & Thompson, 2007). Situational factors such as the fear of authority are those that can be predicted from characteristics of a particular situation (Moos, 1969). Situational factors associated with higher conformity often include a reduced accountability for one’s actions (Asch, 1955), and difficulty of task or lack of individuality (Baron, Vandello & Brunsman, 1996). Some dispositional traits have also been associated with high conformity including low self-esteem (Berkowitz & Lundy, 1957; Altemeyer, 1988; Feldman, 2003). Method of Scaling

The scale is a five item Likert scale with items responded to on a five point scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree. More specifically, the Likert Scale is a measure of attitudes, preferences, and subjective reactions through responses of strength of agreement and strength of disagreement with the scale items (Likert, 1932). A Likert-type or frequency scale uses a fixed choice response format to measure attitude (Bowling 1997, Burns & Grove 1997). This scale was chosen because it does not expect a simple yes / no response from the respondent. Instead, it allows for degrees of opinion or no opinion at all. Subsequently, quantitative data can be obtained of which can also be analyzed and interpreted with relative ease (Burns & Grove, 1997). Self-Report Instrument

This type of assessment is a self-report instrument. It allows the person to respond to the statements based on his or her attitude and perception, indicating a specific level of agreement or disagreement. Assessment

1= strongly disagree2= disagree 3= neither agree nor disagree 4= agree 5= strongly agree


The domain covers social pressure, social alienation or validation, accountability, individuality or uniqueness, and self-esteem (possessing, fearing, or lacking). Statements

Statement #1
I don’t like when others blame me.
Statement #2
I am more productive and creative when I work by myself.
Statement #3
It is safer to follow rules and go with the flow instead of being the odd one. Statement #4
When I question authority, I am treated like an outcast.
Statement #5
I think people are more beautiful, inside and out, when they are themselves. Sample Population

Because it may be more complex to evaluate the likelihood of conformity between different cultures (some cultures are more likely to conform), the sample population has been narrowed down to American males verses American females. However, in this sample there will be an even ratio of African-American and Caucasian American females to that of African-American and Caucasian American males. The specific sample is 100 respondents, 50 of which are female and 50 males. Of the 50 females, 25 are Caucasian...
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