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Evaluate why people conform to majority influence with reference to research and real-life examples.

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Introduction

Evaluate why people conform to majority influence with reference to research and real-life examples. Conformity involves a change of behaviour or opinion in order to fit in with a group. This group can be either a majority or a minority group. According to Crutchfield "CONFORMITY is a yielding to group pressure when there is no direct request to comply with the group." However according to Zimbardo & Leippe " CONFORMITY is a change in belief or behaviour in response to real or imagined group pressure where there is no direct request to comply with the group norm." Majority influence is when a larger group influences a smaller group or individual. Deutsch & Gerard (1955) suggested two explanations for why people conform, Normative Influence and Informational Influence. ...read more.

Middle

We conform all of the time. We laugh at jokes that we don't understand, this is because we don't want to be ridiculed or feel rejected by the group. Majority influence occurs throughout daily life. Many experiments were carried out to prove and show why people conform to majority influence. Sherif (1951) investigated to see if people conform to a group norm when making a judgement, this was done by using the Autokinetic Effect. Individual responses ranged from 0-7 inches however a group norm of about 4-5 inches began to appear after a few trials. Participants changed their estimates to conform to the group because they were unsure of their own decision and relied on other's opinions. This can be criticised because the environment is artificial thus lacks ecological validity. ...read more.

Conclusion

This study can be criticised since the environment was artificial and that the experiment was time-consuming and that it was unethical. It was unethical because the na�ve participants were deceived. Crutchfield (1954) aimed to find out whether people conformed to unambiguous tasks when the pressure from others was more imagined than real. Crutchfield found that 37% conformed all of the time but 46% some of the time. Conformity increased when the difficulty of the question increased. He found numerous links between conformity and personality. This study shows that people conform even when people cant see them. This study can be criticised due to the fact that the sample was not representative because only business and military men were used. It can also be criticised for being unethical as the participants were deceived. People conform because of many reasons including not feeling rejected. Clearly, we conform a lot due to majority influence however more evidence will needed to prove this statement. ...read more.

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