PSY220H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Suggestibility, Peer Pressure, Morton Deutsch

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
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Chapter 6: Conformity
What is conformity?
Is it good or bad? No scientific answer
o At times bad (leads someone to drink and drive) and good (standing up against bullying) and
sometimes inconsequential (wearing a school uniform)
In individualistic (western) cultures, submitting to peer pressure not admired, thus conformity carries
negative value judgment
Conformity not just acting as other people act but also being affected by how they act
o Acting/thinking differently from the way you would act and think if you were along
o Conformity: change in behaviour or belief to accord with others
o Key is whether your behaviour would be the same apart from the group
Varieties of conformity
o Compliance: conformity that involves publicly acting in accord with social pressure while
privately disagreeing
Outward conformity is compliance
o Obedience: acting in accord with direct order
Comply primarily to reap reward or to avoid punishment
o Acceptance: conformity that involves both acting and believing in accord with social pressure
Inward conformity
Acceptance sometimes follows compliance
Classic Conformity and Obedience Studies
Sherif’s Studies of Norm Formation
Muzafer Sherif- whether it was possible to observe emergence of social norm in laboratory
o Isolate and then experiment with social phenomenon of norm formation
Assessing suggestibility regarding seeming movement of light
Autokinetic phenomenon: self (auto) motion (kinetic); apparent movement of stationary pint of light in
dark
“mood linkage” (Totterdell) being around happy people can help us feel happier
“chameleon effect” (Chartrand and Bargh)- automatic behaviour done without any conscious intention
to conform
Your mimicry would inclide other person to like you and be helpful to you and others
o Being mimicked seems to enhance social bonds
David Phillips confirmed imitative suicidal behaviour called “werther effect”- imitating suicide of famous
novel character
Solomon Asch’s studies of group pressure (conformity)
Agreement with other’s obviously wrong perceptual judgment
Some people never conformed, three-quarters did so at least once
These experiments lacked mundane realism of everyday conformity but had experimental realism
o People became emotionally involve in experience
Milgram’s Obedience Studies
Complying with commands to shock another
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Document Summary

No scientific answer: at times bad (leads someone to drink and drive) and good (standing up against bullying) and sometimes inconsequential (wearing a school uniform) In individualistic (western) cultures, submitting to peer pressure not admired, thus conformity carries negative value judgment. Varieties of conformity: compliance: conformity that involves publicly acting in accord with social pressure while privately disagreeing. Outward conformity is compliance: obedience: acting in accord with direct order. Comply primarily to reap reward or to avoid punishment: acceptance: conformity that involves both acting and believing in accord with social pressure. Muzafer sherif- whether it was possible to observe emergence of social norm in laboratory. Isolate and then experiment with social phenomenon of norm formation. Assessing suggestibility regarding seeming movement of light. Autokinetic phenomenon: self (auto) motion (kinetic); apparent movement of stationary pint of light in dark. Mood linkage (totterdell) being around happy people can help us feel happier.

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