Evaluate Research (Theories and/or Studies) on Conformity.

Topics: Sociology Pages: 3 (887 words) Published: January 6, 2013
Evaluate research (theories and/or studies) on conformity.
Conformity is the propensity to adjust one’s opinions, feelings or performance in ways that are in agreement with those of a specific individual or group, or with known standards about how a person should behave in certain situations (social norms). The recognized studies and theories on conformity are such as (Asch, 1951), (Sherif, 1935) and (Jenness, 1932).

Asch examined men in a university in the United States of America. He gave them the task to answer simple questions with the right answers obvious to them. He had all the other participants state the wrong answer. His aim was to see if the participant would conform under the circumstance. This led 75% of the participants to conform in one or more of the 18 trials. They began stating the wrong answers in order to skip being judged or ostracized from the group. This is also referred to as cognitive dissonance. However when Asch took in another participant to state the correct answer he saw a clear difference. They formed a group within the group and the former participant started stating the right answer. This shows that we conform under the circumstances of us being alone against others but we are less likely to do so if we have someone arguing our case. The problems with this study however exist in validity, method and ethics. The method in this study offers demand characteristics due to the possibility of figuring out the aim. It is also low in ecological validity due to the situations being unnatural and not relatable to real life, however Asch argues that the group constellation is not artificial. The internal validity does not meet the standards of the public. that pointed out that he could have been studying something other than he claimed to be, such as eyesight. The external validity is also questioned due to the fact that the participants were all young, Caucasian males and that cannot be generalized to the rest of the world. The...
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