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Conformity in society

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Introduction

Conformity It is common that some people act the way they feel they're supposed to, even though it might be opposite from what they really think. Usually, people tend to conform to groups, that is, to do the same thing that everyone else in the group does, regardless of whether they think it's right. This effect is one of the questions that social psychology is dealing with. One of the most important studies on conformity was conducted by Asch in 1952. His goal was to investigate levels of conformity when people were faced with a question that had an obvious answer. As his apparatus, Asch used cards with various lines. ...read more.

Middle

The results of Asch studies showed that on 32% of trials the participants have conformed to the group by giving the same wrong answer. Even 74% of all the na�ve participants have conformed at least once. 26% of participants never conformed, which is quite a low figure, considering that the answer was obvious. During debriefing, the participants reported several conditions which caused compliance. First, and the most obvious one, was simply because they didn't want to be the odd one out, which we refer to as distortion of action. Distortion of judgement follows, that is participant's oppinion that their perception must be inaccurate, and finally, distortion of perception, where the participants actually saw the wrong line as being right, unaware that this was influenced by the majority. ...read more.

Conclusion

were found with a majority of 3. Further increases in the size of the majority did not have an effect on conformity. However, when the majority was reduced to 2 people, compliance dropped to 12.2%. When only one confederate was used, there was absolutely no compliance. As the task difficulty rose or the clarity was reduced, conformity levels were found to be higher. Overall, this study is important because it shows us how people conform to majority. Although Asch may be criticised as lacking environmental validity, because of so obvious answers, these answers were deliberately made extremely obvious, so that no other factor like uncertainty about the answer would affect conformity. It was later shown that ambiguous answers only led to higher conformity levels. In real life, too, people conform to the majority very often, especially when they're not sure how to act. ...read more.

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