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Conformity & Obedience to Authority.

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Conformity & Obedience to Authority * Conformity focuses upon the ways in which other people exert their influence upon us in such a way that we go along with them. For example some teenagers may go along with what their friends do when they themselves would have preferred to have gone elsewhere. * Conformity normally involves some kind of social pressure in which the individuals intentions conflict with those of the groups. This kind of social pressure is known as conformity. Below are three definitions of conformity. They all have a common theme; that other people bring about a change in an individual or at least induce a situation of conflict. "A change in a persons behaviour or opinions as a result of real or imagined Pressure from a person or group of people." Aronson (1998) "Yielding to a group pressures or expectations." Crutchfield (1995) "The tendency to allow ones opinions, attitudes, actions and perceptions to be affected by prevailing opinions, attitudes and actions." Reber (1985) * However this is hard to prove and since the 1930's this form of social influence has been studied experimentally using a variety of techniques. The major experimenters in this area are M.sherif, S. Asch, R.S.Crutchfield and S.Milgram, who are all social psychologists. * � MUZTAFER SHERIF (1935) When a stationary spot of light is seen in a dark room it appears to move, this phenomenon is known as the autokinetic effect. ...read more.


Personal qualities, such as the need to be liked, the perceived status of the group members and the extent to which an individual is attracted to the group- are also factors that influence conformity. � Many people may be more likely to conform when they like the group because they feel that by doing so they will gain the groups approval or liking and so strive to do what they hope is correct. The need to be liked is particularly apparent in individuals rated as having low-self esteem and therefore makes them conform whereas those individuals who are more confident do not mind being different from the rest of the group, they are less bothered about fitting in and being liked. Obedience Obedience is doing what you are told, people comply with a demand because they feel they must or should do so. In a lot of occasions, the failure to obey may have severe consequences particularly if the request/demand comes from someone who is perceived to be in authority. Obedience implies that the individual is ordered to go along and do what they are told. Psychologists after the Second Wo from essaybank.co.uk rld War were determined to find out why the Germans killed so many Jews in the war, and why they had obeyed orders to kill 6 million Jews. Because of the scale of destruction led by the Nazis, many people started to believe that the perpetrators of such a horror could not have been ordinary men and women. ...read more.


This is also apparent with the Second World War, where the nazi war criminals believed that they were doing it for their own country, for a purer, better Germany. * Crutchfield also states that if the group is too discuss what is going on they find less problems with it and will get on with it. This is also apparent in real life too, where discussion is limited and that all the facts are not known. In some situations there are no facts or correct answers at all, only opinions. The fact that a group believes something may actually prevent its members from looking for further evidence about it. * Hofling conducted an experiment in 1966 and he shows that obedience to authority is not just confined to the laboratory. Hofling conducted an experiment on nurses on normal duty at two American hospitals. Each nurse received a phone call from a doctor whom she had not met before but who was from the psychiatric department and who said he was coming to see a patient shortly. The doctor asked the nurse to look for a drug called Astroten and administer 20mg to the patient. The label on the container stated that a maximum dosage of 10mg was allowed per day but despite this 21 of the 22 nurses went as far as pouring out 20mg of the drug before being stopped by a confederate of the researchers. There was also a hospital rule not to take orders over the phone. The authority of a doctor over a nurse was enough to produce obedience rather than questioning. ...read more.

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