A Level Psychology

I have never been one to simply conform because others instruct me to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I do on occasion conform but I am also known to be a little bit stubborn (not a good trait). Social Psychologists have spent a considerable amount of time researching the topic of conformity, and your job is to understand and critique the researchers theoretical ideas explaining conformity. By the way, if you experience any difficulties understanding the ideas outlined below, simply get in touch with me at www.studycoach.uk.com Send an email to exams@studycoach.uk.com or give Morel a ring at Study Coach.

Conformity defined (by Zimbardo and Lieppe) ‘…a change in belief or behaviour in response to real or imagined group pressures when there is no direct request to comply with the group nor any reason to justify the behaviour change’.

One of the first study on Conformity was carried out by Jennes (1932). The study is known as the ‘Beans in a Bottle’ Experiment. The method used was a glass bottle filled with beans. Jennes asked participants individually to estimate how many beans the bottle contained. Jennes then put the group in a room with the bottle, and asked the participants to provide a group estimate through discussion. Participants were then asked to estimate the number on their own based on the influence of the majority. Jennes then interviewed the participants individually, and asked if they would like to change their original estimates, or stay with the group’s estimate. Almost all participants changed their individual guesses to be closer to the group estimate.

In deciding whether conformity has taken place, refer to the definition and consider whether there has been a change in belief. Consider whether any change in belief is due to real or imagined group pressure. You will need to consider what exactly is meant by ‘group pressure’. A group may be small or large, temporary or permanent. For conformity to take place, the individual will usually admire, value or aspire to be like members of the group, and as a consequence the individual is pressured to conform – the pressure may be real or the individual may in fact imagine the pressure.

If you would like to understand Crutchfield’s definition, Asch’s experiment, learn about ISI and NSI, then get in touch. Get to grips with psychological concepts and achieve your learning goals. Notes and Essay plans on a range of topics will soon be available to download. Study Coach: Training Minds Empowering People. Telephone Morel at Study Coach: 07944 849271.

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