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"people Conform Because They Want to Fit In and Be Accepted by a Group" - Discuss

Autor:   •  March 14, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,240 Words (5 Pages)  •  4,498 Views

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Social psychology looks at how people affect each other. Social behavior changes between people and roles depending on the situation or relation to the subject. This type of psychology also considers how we think about other people, i.e. through this social cognition one would link to thinks such as stereotyping and prejudice for example. Also psychologists have confirmed that people's influence on a person could change their behavior, and this is why they conform, or obey the authority.

There are two types of conformity also known as the "duel dependency model", which both stress that the behavior of a small group or person could be influenced by a much larger group known in some cases as "pressure groups". The first being, Compliance, this is where the individual or small group go along with the majority, even if they disagree with them, i.e. "following the crowd". This is a superficial type of conformity as the person's feelings and true beliefs do not change. Some comply with a group of people in order to seem "normal", as going against the majority could lead to exclusion or rejection in some cases. This is called ‘Normative influence'.

In order to substantiate this information, we could use Asch's study on "conformity on an unambiguous task" in 1951. This task was set in place to see if a small group would conform to the larger group's judgment, and whether or not it seemed to be a rational process. This laboratory experiment was carried out with an independent groups design. The 123 male's students took part in a "task of visual perception" in groups of 8. They were told to compare 3 lines length to the standard line.18 trials were carried out per person. On 12 of the critical trials the confederates gave the same wrong answer. Alongside this, there was a control group doing the same but in isolation. Results showed that in controlled trials, 0.7% participants gave the wrong answer, in the critical trials, the participants conformed to the majority 37% of the time, and 75% conformed at least once. After the tests, some participants stated that they conformed due to doubting their vision, and by the indirect pressure they were exposed to by the larger majority. When the task was concluded, we noticed that 37% were wrong on the critical trials, stressing that they conformed to the majority, stressing the "Normative influence".

This does stress some conformity in order to fit in, or "be one of the gang" so to speak. But one may argue that this task may not support the claim, as it was not carried out in a natural situation and so would lack ecological validity. One may argue that were they in real life consequences some may not have conformed to the majority. There was no limit to the psychological harm the participants were put through, by means of the pressure of being in the situation to conform. Also due


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