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

"To what extend has research supported the view that the Majority exerts a significant degree of influence over the individual".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"To what extend has research supported the view that the Majority exerts a significant degree of influence Over the individual" Conformity is form of social influence which results from exposure to the opinions of a majority. Zimbardo et al (1995) define it as a "tendency for people to adopt the behaviour, attitudes and values of other members of a reference." The two most obvious reasons why people conform are because of 'normative influence' and 'informational influence' an alternative explanation is 'referential social influence'. Minority influence is a form of social influence where people reject the established norm of the majority of group members and move to the position of the minority. There are many situations where social influence where social influence can be attributed to exposure to persuasive influence of a minority position, or even a lone dissenter. Consequently although initially dismissed as eccentric or unacceptable by the majority, the views of the minority may become increasingly influential. In Asch's study, he showed a series of lines to participants seated around a table, all but one were confederates of the researcher. ...read more.

Middle

Strictly speaking, Sherif's experiment is not an example of conformity in terms of majority influence. Majority influence means a majority influences a minority who then conform to the majority view. Therefore this was no majority or minority view, simply a number of people had different views. Sherif (1935) conducted an experiment using a visual illusion called the autokinetic effect, where a stationery spot light seen in a dark room appears to move. He moved the light around and asked participants to estimate how far the light had moved. They were tested individually being asked to estimate the extent of movement several times. The estimates fluctuated but then settled down and became more consistent. There were wide differences between participants. After hearing the estimates of other participants (the group situation) the estimates of different participants converged to form a group norm which represented the average of individual estimates. According to Sherif, the participants used others estimates as a frame of reference in what was an ambiguous situation. When participants were asked to individually make a second estimate their answers closely resembled the norm. ...read more.

Conclusion

Neither choice is inherently good or bad. A person's judgment about the value of conformity or deviance should depend on the reasons a member behaves in this way. For example, a group member may conform simply to do what the group wants. Compliance is usually bad for the group in the sense that the group is not getting the full benefit of hearing and evaluating opposing views. However, there are times, such as in emergencies when quick compliance is necessary. Finally, group members holding a minority viewpoint can influence members in the majority. The type of influence that minorities can exert however is different from the kind that majorities usually exert. Group members who move their opinions toward the majority are often just complying with the majority. In contrast, the influence of minorities tends to lead members toward a public acceptance of the minority point of view. Further, the presence of a minority helps stimulate group members to think deeply about issues. This often leads members to present new proposals and come to higher quality decisions than they would have if the minority viewpoint had not been present. Overall, group majorities tend to have greater influence over members than group minorities do, therefore majority exerts a significant degree of influence over the individual. Aneil Patel Psychology ...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. difference between majority and minority influence

    In the control experiment, only 1 percent of trials resulted in an error. In the non-control experiment, 75% of participants made at least one error. Although Asch was generally concerned with how one can resist majority influence and pressure, his experiments are generally deemed to be demonstrative of the power of majority influence.

  2. Critically evaluate research concerned with decision making in groups. Give attention to minority and ...

    The findings of this experiment may not be surprising but somewhat expected, as being influenced by others judgements is to be expected especially if one is not sure about the stimulus. However it is questioned whether the same results will be attained when the participant is fully aware that the apposing views are obviously in the wrong.

  1. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    and how we make social judgements (the sense we make of social behaviour). Using the studies from the list below, answer the questions which follow. Milgram (obedience) Tajfel (intergroup categorization) Haney, Banks and Zimbardo (prison simulation) Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin (subway Samaritans)

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

    increases the occurrence of conformity. For example, countless research studies exist which display the degree of conformity in sororities and fraternities. In a like manner, the number of persons exerting pressure increases the amount of conformity. This is true only to a certain point.

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

    An example would be, if we went to a wedding we would dress smart even if we feel uncomfortable.

  2. Social influence, its concepts and ethics

    The person giving the instructions was an authority figure. In this type of study the way in which it is measured is in to what extent the person would be prepared to carry out the orders which may go against that person's own beliefs and/ or morals.

  1. The Matching Hypothesis

    I repeated this for the males and females in the real and fake couples. By looking at the results for my real couples the average difference between 6 of the couples was less than 1.0 and the difference between 3 of them was less than 0.5.

  2. To what extent has research supported the view that the majority exerts a significant ...

    The participants gave three main explanations into why they conformed. These included 1) they genuinely doubted their own judgement ? distortion of judgement (informational normative influence), 2) they guessed what the point of the experiment was and decided to follow what they were expected to do by the researcher as not to ?upset? the experiment (demand characteristics)

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