On a need to know basis: How psychologists have studied conformity.
Line judgement task
6 Neutral trials (correct answers)
6 Critical trials (Incorrect answers)
1. No-one conformed on all 12 trials
2. One person conformed on 11/12 trials
3. 37/50 conformed at least once, but 13/50 never conformed
4. The mean (average) conformity rate was 3.84/12 trials (32%)
1. Only male university students we tested, sample is limited, not ‘ordinary’ people. (The study lacks population validity).
2. Study raises several ethical issues – deception and the lack of informed consent.
3. The study was carried out in a laboratory, lacks ecological validity.
4. The study is time consuming; only one participant can be tested at a time.
5. Asch’s figure of conformity is not always the same as other conformity studies. How much conformity is found depends on social climate at time of study. Conformity also affected by cultures (collectivist cultures more likely to conform than individualistic cultures).
Compliance = publicly agree with the group, but privately disagree with their view.
Internalisation = publicly agree with group, and privately agree with their view.
Why do people conform?
(NSI) Normative Social Influence = Conform because we fear rejection or because we want approval, even though we do not believe what we are saying, conformity occurring through.
(ISI) Informational Social Influence = genuinely do not know what way to behave in a situation; we are likely to see how other people are behaving in that situation. When we behave like them because it is unclear how we should behave, conformity occurring through.