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Lecture 10 - Conformity

by: Leslie Ogu

Lecture 10 - Conformity PSYC 2012

Leslie Ogu
GPA 3.01
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About this Document

This lecture discussed conformity and how it happens on a daily basis. In addition, it reviews how we adapt to different social norms and tend not to break away from it
Social Psychology
Stock, M
Class Notes
social norms, social psychology, conformity, pressure, public conformity, private conform, change., impact, Influence, Society, tendencies, love




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Leslie Ogu on Friday February 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 2012 at George Washington University taught by Stock, M in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychlogy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 02/26/16
Leslie Ogu PSYC 2012  02/24/2016 ­ Conformity    Conformity  ➢ Def:​  a change in one’s behavior due to the real or imagined influence of others  ○ Ex: Social norms we conform to in order to not stand out, break the  pattern, and/or because they have become unwritten rules society follows  ■ When driving, we all drive around the same speed when on the  highway because we see others are driving a certain speed and  don’t want to get honked at or cause traffic  ➢ Chameleon Effect​ : unconsciously mimicking or adapting to the behaviors,  mannerisms, and actions of the people that one is interacting with  ○ Ex: When we are in an elevator, we may stand a certain way, or move to  the back so more people can enter, etc  ➢ Types of Conformity:  ○ Informational Influence/Conformity:​  conforming because we believe  that others’ interpretation of an ambiguous is more accurate than ours and  will help us choose how to act  ■ The desire/need to know the correct response in a given situation  ■ Occurs when:  ● The situation is ambiguous  ○ Most important criterion  ○ If we are not sure how to act, we look to others  ● The situation is a crisis  ○ When there is no time to think; must act now!  ■ They probably know what they are doing  ■ When it has gone wrong:  ● Mass psychogenic illness ­ similar symptoms with no known  cause among a group of people  ○ Ex: Tennessee high school  ○ Salem witch trials  ● Crisis  ○ War of the Worlds  ○ Normative Influence/Conformity:​  the influence of other people that  leads us to conform to be liked and accepted  ■ fear of social rejection; expected behavior  ■ desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval  ➢ Two Types of Acceptance:  ○ Private acceptance:​  conforming to other people’s behavior, but not  expressing it in a public way such as speaking publicly or doing public  deeds  ○ Public acceptance:​  conforming publicly without necessarily behaving in  what we are doing or saying  ➢ It is a response to group pressure  ○ Example Experiment: Asch Line Judgement Studies (1940s)  ○ Conformity can be reduced when one has an ally  ○ Also depends on the importance of accuracy  ➢ What factors determine whether or not we conform?  ○ Group importance  ■ Stronger with people we respect, care about, or identify with  ○ Group cohesion (agreement as a whole)  ○ Status  ■ High Status = more impact on us (more conformity)  ○ Public response  ■ Conform more in public  ○ Prior commitment  ■ Less likely to conform  ○ Culture  ■ Collectivist cultures conform more    Social Norms  ➢ Descriptive Norms: ​ perceptions of how others are behaving and what is typical  (e.g., how frequently they think)  ○ Young adults overestimate risky health behaviors  ➢ Injunctive Norms:​  perceptions of approval or disapproval of behaviors  ➢ Depend on exposure (e.g., peers, media) and experiences (whether positive or  negative)  ➢ Perception of norms predicts behavior    Crafting Normative Messages  ➢ Issue: messages that focus on negative behaviors as being normative (e.g.,  littering, alcohol use)  ➢ Impact of injunctive norm against the behavior may be undermined by descriptive  (behavioral) norms of the behavior  ➢ Best practice: messages that include both types of norms in same directions (pro  or anti)    Resisting Normative Social Influence  ➢ Minority influence  ➢ Where a minority of group members influence the behavior or beliefs of the  majority  ○ consistency is key!  ○ informational social influence  ➢ Idiosyncrasy (a way of thought particular to an individual) credits  ○ conform most of the time  ○ allowed to deviate sometimes    Summary  ➢ People usually conform for two main reasons ­ accuracy and acceptance  ➢ Conformity isn’t really good or bad, but it can definitely lead to negative outcomes  ➢ Conformity involves public compliance (through public pressures) but not  necessarily private acceptance  ➢ People don’t always conform. but when they don’t, they may be punished by the  majority  ○ seen a lot in early school years (elementary and middle school)  ➢ To fight against mindless conformity:  ○ recognize the power of the social situation  ○ take action ­ it often takes only one person to end other people’s  conformity 


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