Social Influence: Conformity, Compliance, And Obedience

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Social influence refers to the ways in which external factors bring about change in an individual. An individual can change in the way they think and organize their behaviours and actions. There are three groups of social influence, including conformity, compliance, and obedience, affecting an individual 's everyday life. Conformity is a type of group behaviour in which a member changes their attitudes and beliefs to match those of others within the group (Constable, Shuler, Klaber, & Rakauskas, 2015). Similarly, compliance refers to when an individual accepts influence from a group to achieve a favourable reaction from them (Constable, Shuler, Klaber, & Rakauskas, 2015). Lastly, obedience is a form of social influence where an individual…show more content…
Conformity is divided into two groups, normative and informational. Conformity itself is defined as "a change in belief or behaviour in order to fit in with a group" (McLeod, 2016), because of group pressure. Normative conformity refers to when an individual yields "to group pressure because a person wants to fit in with the group" (McLeod, 2016). An example of this can be seen in the experiment completed by Solomon Asch. Asch carried out an "experiment to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform" (McLeod, 2008). In 1951, Asch conducted his line test experiment. He took 50 male students and made separate groups of eight, seven individuals (who were associated with Asch 's experiment) and one individual who had no idea what was going on. In the experiment, Asch showed the group a picture of a straight line, their task was to match the line they see to three options they have in front of them (A, B, or C). The answer was always obvious. 75% of the participants conformed to the group 's conclusion of the obvious wrong answer, some saying that they feared…show more content…
Compliance “is a type of social influence where an individual does what someone else wants them to do,” as well as conforming to the expectations of a social role in order to fit in, such as if someone asks another person to do their homework, or if someone asks for a favour (McLeod, 2014). Zimbardo’s experiment’s, in 1971, main purpose was to “investigate how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated prison life” (McLeod, 2017). The experiment included 24 male students, who applied. Out of the 24, they were randomly assigned roles of either guards or prisoners. There ended up being ten prisoners and eleven guards. Zimbardo wanted this experiment to be as real as real-life. He instructed the guards to do whatever they think necessary in order to maintain law and order in the prison (Zimbardo, 2015). “Prisoners were treated like every other criminal, being arrested at their own homes, without warning, and taken to the local police station” although physical violence was not allowed (McLeod, 2017). What Zimbardo found was that within a short amount of time all the participants adopted to their roles easily. The experiment demonstrated how people will comply with the expectations that come from certain social roles. Someone will comply or not due to their thoughts of social reward or punishment may lead them to comply, but
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