There have been many experiments in psychology investigating conformity and group pressure. * Jennets (1932) was the first psychologist to study conformity. His experiment was an ambiguous situation involving a glass bottle filled with beans. He asked participants individually to estimate how many beans the bottle contained. Jennets then put the group in a room with the bottle, and asked them to provide a group estimate through discussion. Participants were then asked to estimate the number on their own again to find whether their initial estimates had altered based on the influence of the majority.
Jennets then interviewed the participants individually again, and asked if they would like to change their original estimates, or stay with the group’s estimate. Almost all changed their individual guesses to be closer to the group estimate. * Conformity is the tendency to align your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those around you. * As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals, the fact is that we’re driven to fit in, and that usually means going with the flow.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
More examples of conformity can include: * criminal gangs * opinions from friends involving peer pressures, compulsions of social life * conformity is basically a process by which people’s belief or behaviors are influenced by others. Moreover, there are two forms of conformity: 1. Compliance * Is outwardly going along with the group while inwardly disagreeing. * Again, outward conformity is compliance. We comply primarily to reap a reward or avoid punishment. * If our compliance is to an explicit command, we call it OBEDIENCE. . Acceptance * Believing as well as acting in accord with social pressure. UP: Two aspects that are important in group behavior are conformity and compliance. Both conformity and compliance are prevalent in all types of groups, but of course it is important to point out the differences between these two types of behavior. Conformity within a group entails members changing their attitudes and beliefs in order to match those of others within the group. Those that conform tend to be obedient and compliant.
In order to conform, the group member must attribute someone as having the legitimacy and credibility to lead or influence the group’s behavior. Without this “leader”, conformity toward the group’s goals will be less prevalent. If a member of the group fails to conform to the groups needs, he/she would lose credibility with the rest of the group. The concept of compliance is similar to conformity, yet slightly different. For compliance to occur within groups, one must adapt his/her actions to another’s wishes or rules. A person that conforms must have a disposition that allows him/her to yield to others.
Requests for and acts of compliance occur in everyone’s lives. Simply asking someone to perform a task is a request for compliance. The most effective method to gain compliance is through rational persuasion and inspiration. Although this person is asking another to perform a task, he/she is not asking the person to agree or disagree with the task in question. The person requesting the performance of the task is not necessarily attempting to change the other’s beliefs, but simply needs or wants the task to be performed.
This notion is what sets conformity and compliance apart. The central aspect of conformity is that the person being influenced by the group change his/her attitudes and/or beliefs while the main point of compliance is the achievement of some specified task. What are the classic conformity and obedience studies? Three classic sets of experiments illustrates how researchers have studied conformity. 1 . Muzzier Sheriff * Observed that others’ Judgments influenced people’s estimates of the movement off point of light that actually did not move. . Solomon Cash * Had people listen to others’ Judgments of which of three comparison lines was equal to a standard line and then make the same Judgment themselves. When the others unanimously gave a wrong answer, the participants conformed percent of the time. * performed a series of renowned studies. In his studies, Cash used groups of seven to nine people who were told they were participating in a study on visual perception. These subjects were asked to match the length of a standard line to three comparison lines.
One would think that this would be a relatively easy exercise, but Coach’s groups only contained one real subject. The rest of the group was made up of confederates who were instructed to unanimously give incorrect responses in some trials. The results of this experiment found that the control group made errors only five percent of the time. Those exposed to the incorrect responses informed to these answers 33% of the time, with 75% of these subjects conforming at least once. This shows how easily it is to make a person conform in a group situation. . Stanley Amalgam * There have been two very important psychological experiments that deal with the issue of obedience. The first was done right after World War 2 to try to find out why the Nazis may have exterminated all of the Jews. It was done by Stanley Amalgam. The experiment involved two people one a confederate would play the part of a student trying to remember different words that they had heard the other person who was he subject played the role of a teacher and gave him the test.
He was told to shock the “student” overtime he missed a word. Amalgam thought that most people wouldn’t shock another human being and especially not all the way up to deadly levels of electricity. As the “teachers” were told to increase the dosage as they got more answers wrong. He found out that most people would shock their fellow man in this experiment and would be obedient to all the demands made by the instructor since he was the one in a position of authority. – What predicts conformity?