• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Conformity refers to the tendency for people to change their perceptions in ways that are consistent with group norms

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Conformity by Bryony McIvor Conformity refers to the tendency for people to change their perceptions in ways that are consistent with group norms. People do not always make individual decisions, the majority of the time they look to others to guide their thoughts and actions. A universal law of social groups seems to that they form norms. A norm is a belief shared by the majority of members in a group. If members have different views they are likely to conform, and usually do so. Most people conform in order not to be rejected or because they feel the rest of the group know better than themselves. ...read more.

Middle

One of the earliest experiments in social psychology was a study of the formation of a social form, carried out by Mustaf Sherif in 1935. Mustaf's experiment involved the 'autokinetic effect' whereby a point of light in an otherwise totally dark environment will appear to move randomly. Subjects were invited to estimate the amount of 'movement' they observed. They made their estimates in groups where each member could hear the others' estimates. Ultimately, the group members' estimates converged on a middle-of-the-road 'group estimate'. This would appear to show an urge to conform. Crutchfield used military men attending a three day assessment program as subjects. Instead of actually confronting one another, the participants were in open cubicles in which there were five adjacent electrical panels. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lines were very easy to distinguish and if tested on their own observers made few if any errors. When they were tested in a group who gave their judgements publicly and all the rest of the group gave the wrong answer, three-quarters of the naive observers conformed at least once by responding incorrectly. Overall about one-third of the overall responses were conforming ones. This may have caused embarrassment and distress. From Asch's research a few questions arose:- 1. Does the amount of conformity rise if the majority goes on increasing? 2. Do they still conform if they have a supporter in the crowd? 3. Will the task difficulty affect the rate of conformity? Therefore, based on the above research this study aims to test whether people conform when they have to state their answer publicly. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. To investigate if there is higher tendency for males to conform more than females.

    However, there was only one naïve participant while the rest were a confederate of the experimenter. On purpose the naïve participant was the participant who was asked last, therefore they, the naïve participant had to hear everyone else's answer before it was their turn to say.

  2. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    This means that they cannot attribute belief other than their own to another person. In the case of the study they were unable to realize that Sally would look for the marble where she left it because they knew the marbles new location.

  1. The experiment conducted tested the theory of conformity under the influence of group pressure.

    These are likely to be dissonant beliefs if the person also has a third idea that "I should agree with groups that I like." Festinger did not discuss the concept of this third idea, but it is necessary to make his theory work.

  2. Is Three A Crowd?

    The distance varies according to many factors including the relationship of the people involved, ethnic groups, cultures, environment, gender, age, situation etc. One reason why people might feel uncomfortable could be when people stand to close to them, they may have an instinct of aggression.

  1. Interpersonal perceptions.

    Jims story was however fiction, but to backup this theory was a study where a student attempting to solve a series of difficult multiple-choice problems. The subjects then had to rate the student the intelligence of the student they had just seen, the person they were watching always solved 15

  2. The relationship between group size and conformity

    informational social influence (the desire to be right). Turner states that people conform in order to belong to a group a process called referential informational influence whereby the have the desire to be seen as part of a group and so learn the group's norms and behave according to those norms Sheriff (1935)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work