In this essay we will be looking at, and understand why we conform, comply and obey. We will look at research study experiments that give examples of conformity, compliance and obedience.
Two aspects that are important in group behaviour are conformity and compliance. The concept of conformity is similar to compliance, yet slightly different.
Aronson (1988) defined conformity as a change in a person’s behaviour or opinion through peer pressure from a group of people, although people think of themselves as independent persons, they do tend to go along with the social norms, that their group and society have evolved.
Deutsch and Gerard (1955) came up with two types of conformity. Normative social influence in which we conform because we think others will approve and accept us fit in with the group.(desire to be liked) Informational social influence in where we look to others we believe to be right especially in ambiguous situations (desire to be right).
In 1935 Sherif came up with an interesting demonstration of conformity he used what he called the auto kinetic effect, meaning visual illusion. The single point of light looked as it was moving when in fact it was stationary. He took his subjects into a darkened room and was shown a single point of light, and was asked to estimate the rate at which the light was moving. Their estimates varied a lot, some thought only one or two inches while the others thought about eight inches. In other words the distances was quite ambiguous (no right or wrong answer). When the participants were put in groups of three shouting their answers out loud their judgements converged to a group norm. We found Sherif’s study to be informational social influence. It converged because people wanted to be seen as giving the right answer even though there was no right answer.
In 1958 Solomon Asch’s experiment was too see if people would conform if under pressure and if it would change a person’s perception. His experiment...