Describe and Evaluate Explanations of Conformity

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Nikhita Sagar AS Psychology Miss Mahmoud “Describe and evaluate explanations of conformity” 12 marks Normative social influence is the need to be liked and accepted by others in the group. Other people are usually looked to in a group to identify behavior that leads to group acceptance – this may result in the person publicly changing their behavior/views but privately disagreeing/having their own opinions. This is because humans are social creatures and have a fundamental need for social companionship and a fear of rejection. The majority may also control other group members by making it difficult to deviate from majority point of view, therefore exerting pressure on them to conform. This type of social influence is also known as compliance and has been demonstrated in research by Asch, where participants clearly felt uncomfortable deviating from the majority position. Research by Garandeau and Cillessen can be used to support the concept of normative social influence using bullying behaviour. They have shown how groups with a low quality of interpersonal friendships may be manipulated by a skilful bully so that the victimisation of another child provides the group with a common goal, creating pressure on all to comply. The way in which this supports the concept of normative social influence is by demonstrating that children will comply with others due to fear of rejection, wanting to be part of a social group and because of the need for companionship. The Japanese massacre of Chinese at Nanking can be explained using normative social influence. In 1937, Japanese contempt toward the Chinese had long been an accepted and established norm for members of the Japanese society. A Japanese solider, who was interviewed by CNN in 1998 explains how they were taught that they were the superior race and how the Chinese were not. Therefore, they help contempt for them and

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