Conformity Most individuals are aware of the physical pressure such as iron weights or a heavy backpack, but who is consciously aware of the finite pressure involved in our everyday social lives? One main form of social pressure is conformity, which is changing or manipulating your thoughts or actions in order to match others around you. Are you a rebel or a conformist? “Most consider themselves not to be considered terribly strange or frightening yet nonconformist enough to demonstrate that we are individuals and capable of independent thinking.
However, what does scientific search have to say’ (Hock, 1992)? In Forty Studies that Changed Psychology, (Hock, 1992) Chapter 38, The Power of Conformity deals with Solomon Sash’s experiment conducted in the sass’s. Although, conformity often involves general and vague concepts, such as agreeing with others attitudes, ethics, morals, and belief systems; Cash focused on a more obvious type of conformity. This type of conformity was called perceptual conformity which is the extent to which humans tend to conform to another’s perception of the world.
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Sash’s hypothesis stated, “Conformity should be able to manipulate a person’s behavior by applying group pressure to conform” (p. 296). To conduct this experiment seven people were chosen. Six of which were from the study, so they knew what was going on while one individual was chosen randomly. Their task was to determine if a line on one card matched with one of the three choices on a separate card. The first few times, research insiders gave the correct and obviously right answer. But, after a while, the 2 research insiders would give the wrong answer to see how often the one outsider would agree with the insiders.
Each participant participated in the experimental situation several times. Approximately, 75% went along with the group’s incorrect consensus at least once. For all trials combined, participants agreed with the group on the incorrect responses about one third of the time. When the participants wrote down their answer, they were right 98% of the time. Sash’s experiment was influential research because the power of social pressure to conform was demonstrated clearly for the first time. This sparked a wave of additional studies that are ever going.
However, critics of Sash’s experiment questioned the validity of the research arguing his findings couldn’t be generalized outside of the laboratory. In a slight variation of percent of the participants agreed with the group consensus which proved most people only need one ally. Later research also confirmed the conclusion that the more committed one is to the group equals a greater likelihood that one will conform. Another study did research on what size groups was the most influential. This particular study indicated a grouping of seven to be the most intimidating.
My second article was called, “Why we conform: The Power of Groups” by Philip Zanzibar and Cindy X Wang in 2006. This article focused on the two main causes of uniformity, which are informative and normative conformity; and how this information can be transferred to the individual. “Informative influence is a reason for conformity based on people’s desire to be correct. Normative influence is a reason for conformity based on people’s desire to be liked or not appear foolish. “(Henry Galilean, 2010) In informative influence a person may be in a new situation and lacks knowledge necessary to make correct decisions.
This person may listen more to what others say. One’s environment also affects their knowledge and therefore, effects 3 decisions which are made. In normative influence, a person may be a team member rather than an individual. They may disagree secretly, but they care more about being accepted in the group. Despite the different causes in our daily lives, conformity plays a positive and negative role in society. Positive examples of conformity and obedience includes obeying traffic laws and respecting others.
Conformity and obedience can lead to better organization and unity when people in your environment are making uplifting decisions. However, conformity and obedience becomes negative when it leads people violate their own principals and do things hat previously felt they should not do. Examples of this include the Holocaust and the International Slave Trade. The consequences of our actions can be severe, so this article emphasizes examining whether our reasons Justify our actions. We need to learn how to proportionally balance conformity and obedience with individuality and our personal moral code.
We need to know ourselves, and what we stand for, while finding the time to accurately confirm the ethos and credibility of our information. These two articles are related because conformity and obedience are both ways there influence us. My second article also helps explain participant’s thoughts behind their actions in the first article. Both of these articles are important because if we can better understand how others influence us; we can better prepare and protect ourselves against others whom opinions and actions differ from our own.
If we can learn why and how horrifying events such as the Holocaust and the Slave Trade happened, then we can learn from society mistakes; so it will not happen again. I choose conformity and obedience because I find it ironic that virtues of loyalty, spelling, and self-sacrifice that we value so highly in the individual are the exact properties that create destructive organizational engines of war and blind people to 4 Growing up as the only child in the house, I refused to listen to anybody, and I was always right.
However, when I entered school, nobody wanted to be my friend because of my independence and stubbornness. Eventually, I Just did whatever I was told wishing that I would be accepted by the group, but I had lost myself in the process. A decade later, I am a bit better at balancing conformity and individualism, but it is still a day to day struggle. I have also been heavily influenced by the post- World War II rebellion of the sass’s. Stories from my older than average parents has made me question modern society.