Independent Behaviour

Resisting Conformity and
Resisting Obedience
 In
some cases, individuals can resist
pressures to conform or obey and can
maintain independent behaviour
 The
role of personality has been studied
and in particular a concept known as
locus of control
 Locus
of Control refers to a person’s
perception of personal control over their
own behaviour
 It is measured along a dimension of ‘high
internal’ to ‘high external’
Amanda doesn’t bother applying for the
position of Head Girl because she feels she is
not popular enough to win.
Isobel checks her horoscope every day to see
if she is going to have a good or a bad day.
Richard feels confident that he will get
the job he applied for because he
has good exam results and did
well in the interview.
How does LOC affect
 High
internals are active seekers of information
that is useful to them, so rely less on the
opinions of others (unlike externals)
 High
internals are more achievement- oriented
and so more likely to become leaders
 High
internals are better able to
resist coercion from others
 Imagine
a society
where everyone
thinks the same…
 What would
happen if they were
suddenly exposed
to alternative
 Nemeth
argues that if
we are exposed to a
different viewpoint, it
is more likely to make
us think about it, even
if it is the view of a
 E.g. the Campaign for
Nuclear Disarmament
and women’s suffrage.
Reactance is where we change our
views to a position opposite to that
 For example, a CD with an explicit
content warning might sell more.
 Bushman & Stack (1996) see such
items as “forbidden fruit”.
 They measured peoples levels of
“reactance” (i.e. high or low) and
showed them warning labels, finding
that they tend to influence whether or
not a high reactance person will
watch a film etc. or not.
Mugny (1980) argues
we are more likely to
resist conformity if the
minority group is one
we identify with.
 If we feel we share a
“psychosocial identity”
with them, it doesn’t
matter that we are
doing something
socially unacceptable
by going with the
 If
the majority is not unanimous on their
views then conformity is reduced.
 Asch found with just one other member
of the group giving the correct answer,
the conformity of the participant went
down to 5.5%.
Instead of Milgram’s
situational explanation of
obedience, we can take a
dispositional explanation,
which would argue that
personalities differ and can
influence levels of
 Milgram (1974) identified
the “authoritarian
personality” as one more
likely to obey as they are
intolerant of others, like
structure and are
submissive to authority.
 Page
 In your notes use the subtitle
“Techniques for increasing resistance to
 Copy out the technique column and then
write the explanation column in your own