A change in behavior due to real or imagined influence
of other people.
- giving into perceived group pressure
- acting in a certain way because of others
- acting differently than if you were alone
example: teens dressing alike/laughing at a bad joke
Asch study – conformity in an unambiguous situation
Method: groups of subjects participate in a perceptual
judgmental task. Only one person was a real subject, but the
rest were confederates
View a target line and three comparison lines.
Each person says which comparison line matches the
Notes: first few trials, confederates say correct line.
Then, all the confederates say the same incorrect line
Results: If tested alone – 99% accuracy
When tested with the group of confederates: 76% of
subjects conformed at least once. 37% of responses were
Social Influence – Why conformity?
Informational influence – the influence of other people that
leads us to conform because we see them as a source of
correct information and use it to guide our behavior
- we conform because we may not know what is the
right behavior to commit so we look to others
Information from others conformity Normative influence – the influence of other people that
leads us to conform in order to be liked and accepted by
Desire for acceptance conformity
Social Influence – When conformity?
1. Group size
- increases from one to five
- over five people – not much increase
2. Group unanimity
- when everyone agrees
- BUT, when there is one who disagrees…
3. Group cohesion
- is the group attached and does it have strong bonds?
4. Group/individual status
- person conforming’s status – high vs. low
- group’s status – high vs. low
5. Prior commitment
- backing down?
6. Private vs. Public conformity
Social Influence – Obedience
Obedience – instance in which someone in a position of
authority simply tells another person to do something and
they do it. The most famous social psychology study…
Stanley Milgram – Obedience to Authority studies
Would people obey commands from a relatively
powerless stranger who told them to inflict considerable
pain on another person
Interest came from observing the tragic events of the
holocaust during WWII