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

Discuss and evaluate studies into conformity.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss and evaluate studies into conformity. In this essay I will describe four studies of conformity, these being Jenness, Sherif, Asch and Zimbado. I shall begin with the definition of conformity "individuals show conformity when they behave in ways that are expected by other members of a group." This simply means, that a person when in a group acts in favour of the rest of the group whether it be in ecologically valid surroundings or otherwise. Conformity exists because of social influence, which is the power of a person or group to change a particular view in favour of themselves or the group. There are many ways in which we can conform. Some are useful, others are not. For example traffic jams, if there was no conformity there would be cars in every direction and chaos would be inevitable. Alternatively conformity can cause problems if what the particular nation, country or person is conforming to is wrong one example would be the holocaust. There are many plausible reasons why people conform. One being that the person does not want to go against the views of others. ...read more.


Then he would do the same with groups of three and ask them the same question they would each have their own personal norms but tended to give an answer close to their peers. He repeated the experiment but allowed them in-groups first then individually the results showed that they continued to act in the influence of the groups even in the individual experiments. This experiment again has been criticised for its lack of ecological validity since the circumstances were very artificial. No members of the participants were used to standing in a darkened room looking at pin of light. In some experiments I is useful to have a few participants who agree a norm which is pre-arranged thus making the results more accurate. Although it does suggest the same principles as in the Jenness study. Meaning compliance and informational social influence. The third would be Asch's study. In his experiment he gathered seven students and were told to look at a display of three lines (A, B and C) and were asked to say out loud which two lines matched. Six members of the experiment were confederates armed with a pre-arranged answer. ...read more.


The experiment was highly dangerous. Riots were reported two days into the study with prisoners acting irrationally and guards were cruel and were beating and harassing their prisoners almost constantly. After a while the behaviour of both parties changed the prisoners became more submissive often walking facing the ground whereas the guards became more hostile the experiment was shut down after six days because many of the prisoners were leaving since showing severe signs of emotional disturbance. Critics have argued that the experiment was unethical and proved nothing. Some say that the guards and prisoners were simply acting out a stereotype. They argued that the experiment was simply "hell" and that Zimbado simply carried the experiment on even though it was obviously causing extreme damage. The facts that the guards were showing more aggression when on their own with prisoners away from recording equipment should have made Zimbado stop the experiment. It is true that experiment was of value but the level of violence was far beyond what was expected. It shows compliance and informational social influence (where the prisoners accepted what happening to them thinking that the guards or the experimenter knew better) This essay shows four studies and their effects on the participants in some extreme (Zimbado) and others not. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Psychology Coursework - Conformity

    4 star(s)

    None of the participants were given certain set instructions; therefore each participant was treated in a different way. The environment varied a great deal between participants again influencing the reliability of the results. Some participants were asked to fill in the questionnaire in a busy playground with lots of children

  2. Outline and Evaluate Studies of Conformity:

    Observing others can provide this information which therefore shows informational influence. The participants were therefore likely to internalise the views of the group.

  1. The aim of this experiment is to find out if people will conform without ...

    To try and counter this effect, all participants in this study were taken to a certain part of the refectory that was the quietest, away from their peers and the majority of any other distractions. For future experiments, the use of a particular room or area away from people to undertake the experiment would be beneficial.

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

    In the introduction to his work, Asch reviewed the enormously important issue of propaganda which had been so influential in mobilising the German and Italian populations during the second world war to support the war effort, and which, in the German case, promoted racial hatred resulting in genocide.

  1. Sexual dysfunctions are dyadic phenomena. Discuss.

    Nevertheless, this desire according to Lobitz and Lobitz (1996) lasts from two minutes to two years. However, couples try to keep alive this early passion by avoiding reality. They create either a world of fantasies through the use of various stimulants or they engage into conflicts in order to maintain the passion 2)

  2. AS Communication Studies Presentation

    as a video clip, in an attempt to maintain the attention of the audience. I will design a seating plan, taking into consideration the physical restraints of the room, the number of people that I will be presenting to, the possible motion paths that I might take and the position

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