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Outline and Evaluate Explanations of Conformity

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and Evaluate explanations of conformity The Dual Process theory outlines two believed explanations of why humans conform, namely normative influence and Informational influence. Normative influence is a form of social influence where a person changes their behaviour in order to fit in with a group. It usually involves compliance where the change in behaviour is public but not private due to the fact the person?s internal feeling or opinion is not altered, yet externally and publically it has. A fictitious example of this would be a person conforming by claiming to have the same music preferences as their group of friends, but privately they dislike their friend?s music taste. This opinion does not change privately despite the fact it appears to publically. Informational influence is another form of social influence where people change their behaviour based upon the desire to be right. ...read more.

Middle

This idea is supported by a replication of Asch?s experiment carried out by Perrin and Spencer in 1981. Their results showed drastically different overall conformity rates to Asch, with a 0.25% as their overall conformity rate versus Asch?s original 37%. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that due to the study being carried out in the 1950s there is a certain degree of historical bias in the results. Seeing that the findings of Asch?s experiment formed the basis of the outlined explanations of conformity, the reliability of them can therefore be questioned. The explanations of conformity based on Asch?s results could have practical applications. This is because in knowing and understanding them, they can be useful, for example, to businesses in advertising and the government in pursuing policies such as recycling. With the knowledge that humans can conform in order to fit in with a majority, advertising companies could create campaigns that focus on an item or action being the latest trend that everybody has or does. ...read more.

Conclusion

Taifel?s research in 1971 supports this idea because the research findings highlighted the importance of a social identity. Teenage boys living in Bristol aged 14-15 were separated randomly into two groups and then proceeded to play a game. Within this game they were able to allocate points that could be exchanged for money, to their own group or the other group. It was found that the participants consistently chose to award more points to the group they were part of. Taifel argued that there was a tendency to discriminate groups that were not their own and favour the group that they were in. The conclusion from these results was that in conjunction with a personal identity, each human has a social identity. Included within this idea was that people define themselves by the groups that they belong to in society and these groups have powerful influences on their behaviour. Taifel?s results therefore show that there other factors that contribute to conformity, that are overlooked by the Duel Process theory?s explanations of conformity. ...read more.

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