Conformity (psychology)

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This article is about Conformity in the context of psychology. For other uses, see Conformism.

Conformity is the degree to which members of a group will change their behavior, views and attitudes to fit the views of the group.

The group can influence members via subconscious processes or via overt peer pressures on individuals.

Group size, unanimity, cohesion, status, prior commitment and public opinion all help to determine the level of conformity an individual will reflect towards his group.


[edit] Famous experiments in conformity

  • Muzafer Sherif`s light dot experiment, which measured to what extent a participant, when asked to solve a difficult problem, would compare - and adapt - his answer to that of his fellow participants (a kind of conformity called informational social influence);
  • the Asch conformity experiments of Solomon Asch, whose development of the peer pressure theory aided greatly in the modern disciplines of psychology;

[edit] Subtypes

Herbert Kelman identified three subtypes of conformity:

  • compliance - conforming only publicly, but keeping one's own views in private
  • identification - conforming while a group member, publicly and privately, but not after leaving the group
  • internalization - conforming publicly and privately, during and after group membership

Sociologists believe that

  • compliance is conformity that is usually a result of a direct order,
  • while internalization is conformity that comes from one's total and utter belief in one's act.

Another distinction can be made between

  • informational conformity (or informational social influence) - occurs when one turns to the members of one's group to obtain information on an ambiguous situation (e.g. solving a difficult math problem, deciding where to go to escape a fire)
  • normative conformity (or normative social influence)- occurs when one conforms to be liked or accepted by the members of the group

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Kelman, H. (1958). Compliance, identification, and internalization: three processes of attitude change. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2, 31-60.
  • Aronson, E.; Wilson, T. and Akert, R. Social psychology

[edit] External links


es:Conformidad he:קונפורמיות lt:Konformizmas hu:Konformitás pl:Konformizm ru:Конформизм

Conformity (psychology)

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