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PSYCH 2C03 Lecture Notes - Muzafer Sherif, Necktie, Optical Illusion

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Jennifer Ostovich

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What is Conformity?
At times bad
At times good
At times inconsequential
Moral: we choose labels to suit our values and judgments
Labels both evaluate and describe, they are inescapable
Conformity: change in behaviour or belief to accord with others
Not just acting as other people act; it is also being affected by how they act
Acting differently from the way you would act alone
How do you know? Key is whether your behaviour and beliegs would be the same apart from the
Varieties of conformity
1) Compliance, 2) obedience, 3) acceptance
Compliance (outward conformity)
Acceptance (inward conformity)
We conform to an expectation or
request without really believing in
what we are doing
Ex. Putting on a necktie or
dress, though we dislike doing
When our compliance is
to an explicit (clear and
obvious) command
Sometimes we genuinely believe
in what the group has persuaded
us to do
**complying to reap an award or
avoid punishment**
Involves publicly acting in accord
with social pressure while privately
Acting in accord with a
direct order
Involves both acting and
believing in accord with social
Acceptance sometimes follows
compliance (attitudes follow
What are the Classic Conformity and Obedience Studies?
Potency of social forces and nature of evil
Sherif's studies of NORM FORMATION
Muzafer Sherif (1935, 1937)
Wondered if it was possible to observe the emergence of a social norm in the laboratory
Wanted to experiment with the social phenomenon of norm formation
Participants seated in dark room
Pinpoint of light appears 5m ahead
At first, nothing happens, then erratically moves and disappears
Guess how far it moved
No way to judge distance so you say uncertainly "15cm"
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