Essay by florencenightingaleUniversity, Master'sA+, September 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.3 1 reviews

Downloaded 174 times



We all have a strong sense of wanting to be like (and to be liked by) other people, and to do what we are told. These issues all relate to social influence which "involves the exercise of social power, by a person or group to change the attitudes or behavior of others in a particular direction" (FRANZOI 1996)

2 common kinds of social power are Conformity



"A change in behavior or belief as a result of real or imagined group pressures" (MYERS 1996)


1. Why do people conform?

People might conform because of informational influence such as where they do not know the answer to the question, they are influenced by the opinion of others, this is called informational social influence shown in the classic study by SHERIFF (1935) Autokinetic effect study (a stationary spot of light in a dark room, very small eye movements appeared to make the light seem to move firstly everyone was tested separately then in groups of 3.

Group norm quickly replaced personal norms indicating social influence). People might also conform they believe in the superior knowledge of others. This would lead people to change their private opinion, this is known as true conformity.

3 different kinds of conformity = 10 marks each

2. Are there different types of conformity?

KELMAN (1958) has used the distinction of that conformity can be related to the extent to which an individual changes their private and/or public opinion. He has used this distinction to outline 3 different kinds of conformity.

COMPLIANCE involves going along with the majority of people even though not really agreeing with them. As the conformity is only superficial, compliance stops when there is no pressure to conform. In a sense this is not true...