Conformity, Obedience and the Social Influences Involved

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Conformity, obedience and the social influences involved This essay examines the likely outcomes of human behaviour. By analysing Asch’s study into conformity and Hofling’s experiment about obedience, the extent to which individuals can avoid such social influences is investigated. There’s been great research into why people conform; following Asch’s study Deutsch and Gerald found that there are two types of social influence which makes people conform. Normative social influence; where individuals conform to be accepted and belong to the group. Benefits come from belonging in a group, individuals may conform on the surface but disagree with the group internally. This is called compliance, going along with the majority despite knowing they are incorrect. Informational social influence; is powered by what people need or their motives. When people are unaware how to behave, think or feel in a social situation the need for conformity is the need to be safe. An example of psychological research in conformity is Asch (1951) line study, where there were varying amount of both participants and confederates and they were asked to state which line was bigger out of three. Confederates deliberately stated wrong answers to provoke the participant to conform or go against the group. Conformity was measured by how many times the participant would go along with the wrong answer. Overall conformity rate was 32% on all trails and 75% of participants conformed at least once. Asch results show high conformity rates, and the methodology used can be examined and improved upon. Strength of Asch’s study is that he reproduced it several times and with varying amount of confederates and participants. This gives validation to the results as they were not a onetime occurrence. Asch’s procedure lacks ecological validity, the answer was clearly correct, and participants could realise that

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