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

Identify and critically evaluate a number of factors influencing conformity and / or obedience, drawing on relevant psychological studies and real life examples.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Identify and critically evaluate a number of factors influencing conformity and / or obedience, drawing on relevant psychological studies and real life examples. The object of this paper is to critically evaluate factors influencing conformity and obedience. I intend to do this by researching conformity and obedience, using books and the Internet. I also hope to briefly write about relevant case studies, by psychologists such as Milgram and Baumrind, and include real life examples to present a well-informed essay. Conformity and obedience are both forms of social influence which is described as "the process by which an individuals attitudes, beliefs or behaviours are modified by the presence or actions of others" Cardwell,Clarke, Meldrum, 1996. This can be described in easier terms, for example, it is how others influence us, in the way we talk and act, and what we believe is right and wrong. There are many ways this can be achieved, including influence by mere presence, persuasion and charm to encourage us to behave according to social norms. However, there is also force and silent treatment to "discourage unwanted behaviour". Rathus, 1990. An example of social influence is the bystander effect. Psychologists have researched and found that at the scene of an accident, the more people there are, the less likely it is that someone will help as "crowds tend to diffuse responsibility" Rathus, 1990. ...read more.

Middle

Also present was another newspaper recruit. Both volunteers were told that one of them would be a 'teacher' and the other a 'learner' during the experiment. In entering a room, the 'learner' would be restrained in a chair and the 'teacher' would sit behind a screen. From behind this screen the 'teacher' was told to administer electric shocks to the 'learner' when they failed to "perform a simple task of memory" Dawninternational, Internet, 2000. A researcher in a white coat encouraged them whenever they hesitated and shockingly the results showed that two thirds of the volunteers "were ready to administer potentially lethal doses of electricity" Dawninternational, internet, 2000. Due to ethics this experiment would be deeply frowned upon today. As with all experiments ethics must always be a priority. However, many people questioned milgrams ethics. Some of the factors that could have possibly concerned critics were the subjects consent, deception and distress. As Milgram advertised in the newspaper, he only had implied consent and not informed consent, as the subjects could not make a well-informed and conscious decision. Milgram also lied about the nature of the experiment therefore he unethically deceived his volunteers. Finally, the volunteers showed signs of distress, it is claimed that many subjects suffered nervous breakdowns during the time of the experiments and after although Milgram denied that volunteers suffered later. ...read more.

Conclusion

We can also relate this back to the nazi's as they long to be accepted into the group that classed themselves as the master race. Acceptance goes hand in hand with conforming in a group situation, which I will briefly discuss, but to define them I will use a personal experience. At sixteen, I became a smoker. When I did this, I conformed without knowing to the ideas of my peers who believed smoking a way of appearing popular and older. I was not obedient, as my peers did not command me to smoke but looking back, I believe I conformed to be accepted in a group of my peers. In 1952 Soloman Asch decided to conduct an experiment to "examine the extent to which pressure from other people could affect one's perceptions" Age-of-the-sage.org, Internet, 1999. To do this he invited eight people to sit in a room. All of the people except the person in the seventh seat were assisting Asch with this experiment, at the time this was obviously unknown to the seventh person. There was a man at the front of the room with a series of cards. On another separate card were numbered comparison lines and your task was to compare the series of cards one at a time to the comparison lines. "This was repeated several times with different cards" Age-of-the-sage, Internet, 1999. ...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

    Critically evaluate whether Milgrams research on obedience was ethical

    4 star(s)

    [3 Jan 2010]. Many of the participants seemed to develop a common misconception that they did not have the right to withdraw from the experiment even though it was explained at the beginning that they could do so at any time and that the monetary reward for participating would be theirs to keep.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Describe and evaluate psychological research into conformity and obedience in humans, and consider ways ...

    4 star(s)

    However Asch's experimental situation is sometimes criticised as lacking ecological validity because it was in a set up situation and the answer was too easy. Asch results may have been true to the time of the experiment but Perrin and Spencer (1980, 1981)

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Describe the main features of conformity and obedience analyse two conformity and obedience studies ...

    Conformity: The main experiment carried out to analyse the way in which people conform was the one carried out by Solomon Asch first carried out in 1951; this experiment was put in place to investigate how people follow the group norm even though they know that the group was obviously

  2. Marked by a teacher

    A Study to Show the Effect of Conformity on Estimating the Number of Sweets ...

    A group estimate was calculated from the individual answers and relayed to the group. This was then discussed. The participant's were then asked to re-view the jar and amend their answers if they believed it appropriate. Estimates were collected again and a second average was calculated.

  1. Conformity & Obedience to Authority.

    This also occurs when people are under extreme emotional pressure for example when soldiers go into battle or when individuals are hysterical due to bereavement. * Milgram described the situation beforehand to psychiatrists and they were asked to predict

  2. Discuss and evaluate studies into conformity.

    It was found that 37% of participants conformed and gave the wrong answer. This is compered to 0.7% of people in the controlled conditions. This is a demonstration of normative social influence. Alternatively when the genuine participant was questioned before the confederates there were only 5% of participants who conformed.

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

    The background knowledge for the experiment will focus on the Crutchfield experiment carried out in 1955 for help in explaining conformity. There is though, quite a large time difference with the study and my experiment. This will have to be taken into consideration when doing this experiment.

  2. The Concepts Of Conformity And Obedience

    Solomon Asch thought he could improve on Sherif's work and really demonstrate true conformity. Asch's visual judgement experiment (1951) showed just how easy it is to influence someone into saying something blatantly wrong! In Asch's experiments participants were asked to match a standard line to one of three alternatives, a task all people with normal vision could do quite accurately.

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