Evaluate Research on Conformity Making Reference to 2 Studies

Topics: Conformity, Social psychology, Sociology Pages: 3 (857 words) Published: April 13, 2012
Evaluate research on conformity making reference to 2 studies (22 marks) Conformity is the tendency to adjust one’s thoughts, feelings or behaviour in ways that are in agreement with those of a particular individual or group, or with accepted standards about how a person should behave in specific situations (social norms). It is also the key ways that a society or culture passes down its values or behaviours to its peers through an indirect form of social influence. Deusch and Gerald (1995) first presented that the reasons of people conforming is due to two factors that are information social influence and normative social influences. Information social influence is based on the ways people cognitively process information about specific situations. Normative social influence is based on our nature as social animals, and our need to be accepted and to ‘belong’ in society. Individuals often conform to avoid rejection and gain social approval within society. Festinger (1954) also agreed that people evaluate their own opinions and judgement through social comparisons, which is when the individual compares themselves to the peers around them When one realizes that others are not behaving in the same way, or think differently, it leads to anxiety, which is known as cognitive dissonance. In order to test for conformity, Asch carried a test where the subject was given a simple task of matching a length of line to one of three other comparison lines. The control subjects (who were able to take the test alone without any confederates) that served as the comparison to the variable (the individual who was tested for conformity) made almost no errors. In the experimental condition, one individual was tested but were surrounded by seven other confederates of the experimenter, who were told to give wrong estimates almost 70% of the trials. The subject was also second to last giving their answers, so that they were faced either giving their own opinion or conforming to the...
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