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Chapter 6- Conformity Lecture notes for chapter 6

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Emiko Yoshida

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Week 6: Conformity Overview: - The classic conformity studies o Sherif’s norm formation study o Asch’s group pressure study - Compliance - The classic obedience studies o Milgram’s obedience studies Increasing Conformity: change in behaviour of beliefs because of the social influence pressure Compliance: change in behaviour in response to a direct request individual Obedience: acting in accord with a direct order Conformity - Tendency to change perceptions, opinions, or behaviour in ways that are consistent with group norms - Group norms: o Behaviour that most people engage in o “What most people are doing” o E.g., I look up in the sky - Study: Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect, 1935 o In a darkened room, participants were shown a single point of light o Participants estimated the distance the light moved o Optical illusion –light is stationary but appears to move o First, do the task alone, then with other participants in the room o Found that people changed their estimate and conformed to the norms o Impacts of a confederate (an actor working for the study) gave an inflated estimate and the inflated estimate persisted for 5 generations - Study: Asch’s Line Judgement Study o 6 actors and 1 real participant o Confederates start out picking the right line then the confederates pick the same, wrong line o Found that the real participant conformed after 1 Why Do People Conform? - Informational Influence: we conform because we believe others are correct in their judgements o Desire to be right o E.g., crisis situation -9/11 o E.g., Video clip: Japanese Tsunami o E.g., Sherif’s autokinetic effect study - Normative influence: we conform because we fear consequences of appearing deviant o Desired to be liked o E.g., Video clip: Mean Girls –Cady dressed scary instead of slutty and felt like she didn’t belong o E.g., Asch’s line study - The results of Sherif and Asch’s studies were surprising –people conformed without pressure to conform Conformity in Everyday Life - Power of situation –people are uncomfortable with being the only minority - Do norms affect behaviour indirectly when people are not around? - E.g., Video clip: Elevator o Everybody faces back of elevator and odd person follows with the different directions faces - Study: Impact of Norms on Crime o In the mid 1990s, the mayor of NY adopted a “quality of life” campaign o He had graffiti removed and the crime rates decreased –why? o Environment provides cues about behaviour that most people engage in o Environment with graffiti and litter  Most people engage in inappropriate behaviour (littering)  Most people don’t care (not monitored)  Crimes not likely to get caught o Clean environment  Most people engage in appropriate behaviour  Environment is better taken care of (monitored)  Crimes are likely to get caught
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