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Conformity - According to Leon Mann, conformity means yielding to group pressures

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Introduction

Conformity According to Leon Mann, conformity means 'yielding to group pressures'. Everyone is a member of one group or another and everyone expects members of these groups to behave in certain ways. If you are a member of an identifiable group you are expected to behave appropriately to it. If you don't conform and behave appropriately you are likely to be rejected by the group. Like stereotypes, conforming and expecting others to conform maintains cognitive balance. There are several kinds of conformity. Many studies of conformity took place in the 1950's which led to distinguish between compliance, internalisation, and identification. Compliance is the type of conformity where the subject goes along with the group view, but privately disagrees with it. Internalisation is where the subject comes to accept, and eventually believes in the group view. Identification is where the subject accepts and believes the group view, because he or she wants to become associated with the group. Leon Mann identifies normative conformity which occurs when direct group pressure forces the individual to yield under the threat of rejection or the promise of reward. ...read more.

Middle

People who follow the lead of an initial dissenter may even disagree with that person and be dissenting from the group for a totally different reason. However, knowing there is at least one other dissenting voice makes it easier for them to express their own opinions. Individual differences also determine the degree to which conformity will occur. Although the uncertainty and agreement of the situation are powerful contributors to the occurrence of conformity, they are not the sole determinants. Personal characteristics and the individual's position within the group play a role as well. Individuals who have a low status within a group or are unfamiliar with a particular situation are the ones most likely to conform. Thus, students who are new to a class, new members of a study or activity group, or new residents to a community are more likely to be affected by the pressure to conform. Personality traits, such as concern with being liked or the desire to be right, also play a role. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of them being Crutchfield's (1955) study that was modified so that the face to face set up of Asch's study could not influence the outcome. A thirty percent conformity level was found using Asch's line comparison tasks. When the difficulty level was increased the conformity also increased. Further studies were carried out years later and different levels of conformity were found, this suggests that cultural changes play a very important role in the findings of these studies. This was apparent when Perrin and Spencer (1981) replicated Asch's experiment using British students; they found only one conformity response on 396 trials. Although Doms and Avermaet (1981) found the same conformity as Asch did. My personal view is that the studies are totally unreliable as it seems that far too many things can influence the end results. You can change the conformity levels by changing the participants from an average group of people off the street to a group of engineers. I think the surroundings can also have a major effect on the results. Although conformity does exist to a great extent and Asch's studies are the backbone and comparison studies for other experimenters to use and base their studies upon. The End ...read more.

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