Why Do People Conform and Obey

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Why Do People Conform and Obey

By | June 2011
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Why do people conform and obey?
Psychology
Essay 4

Essay: Why do people conform and obey?

In psychological terms, conformity refers to an individual`s urge to follow the rules or behaviours of a social group to which he belongs. Psychologists have put forward many theories to find out why people conform and obey and have completed studies to confirm their ideas. In this essay I will explain why people conform and obey.

An important experiment demonstrating under which circumstances people showed conformity was done by a psychologist named Asch (1956). Asch`s experiments were made up to look like a vision test to the participating. The naive subjects did not know that the other participants in the experiment were all confederates. When all the confederates gave the same, but obviously wrong answer, many of the subjects conformed and gave the same wrong answer. Nearly 75 percent of the participants in the conformity experiments went along with the rest of the group at least a single time.

These experiments also looked if a high number of confederates produced more conformity. When just one confederate was present in the group it caused no significant impact on the answers of the subjects (Fraser, 2001). The level of conformity which was reached after tree or more confederates were present, however, was considerably higher. Asch also found out that having one of the confederates give the correct answer while the rest of the confederates gave a false answer would dramatically lower conformity among the subjects. In this situation, just five to ten percent of the participants conformed to the rest of the group (Asch, 1956). This indicates that social support is an important tool whether a person conforms or not. In most cases, the students stated that even though they knew the rest of the group was wrong, they did not want to face rejection from the group. In other words were they anxious to be approved of and so they conformed. Moreover, a few of the...
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