LO: To be able to explain conformity shown in different
times and places
•And to learn the following key terms/ideas: Normative and
Informational Social Influence and Social Impact Theory
•To design a short experiment to test conformity
Deutsch & Gerard (55) -Dual
Process Model of Conformity
Informational social
When an individual conforms
because of superior knowledge or
judgement of others. They
genuinely believe others to be
Change in private opinion
Most likely when situation is
ambiguous, it is a crisis or we
believe others are experts.
Normative social influence
Occurs because he or she wants
to be liked by others and wants
to avoid being rejected. This is
because we are a social species
and need companionship and fear
Affects only public opinions
Most likely when majority make
it difficult to deviate and exert
pressure to conform.
Evaluation of Normative and
Informational Social Influence
+ They identified two key processes underlying conformity
- Approach is designed to apply to majority influence
- It is difficult to distinguish whether effects are due to
normative, informational or a combination
-It depends on the situation the person finds themselves in and
his/ her personal characteristics
-Informational has been less extensively studied than normative,
but there is some evidence that exposure to other people’s beliefs
has an important influence on social stereotypes.
+ Practical applications of normative e.g. to bullying. Garandeau &
Cillessen (2006) have shown how groups with low quality
interpersonal friendships can be manipulated by a skilful bully,
victimisation becomes a common goal and group members are
pressured to comply.
LATANE & WOLF (1981) proposed this to explain why we conform
in some situations and not others.
3 factors affect an individual’s behaviour:
1. NUMBER – people present the more influence they have.
However, the rate of impact grows less with each new person
2. STRENGTH –the more important the people are to the individual
the greater the influence. The more status and expertise then
the stronger the influence.
3. IMMEDIACY – The closer (physically and psychologically) you are
to the influencer, the more effect their message has.
• In some situations, this would lead to majority
influence (e.g. where strength in terms of numbers is high
and status and immediacy is low).
• In other situations, a minority influence could occur
(e.g. where strength in numbers is low, but the person
saying the message has high status and consistency).
+ This theory is very useful in explaining both majority and
minority influence
+ Seikides & Jackson (1990) found high strength and highimmediacy sources exerted more impact than low strength
and immediacy sources.
+ Crutchfield showed immediacy influenced conformity
+ Asch showed that as the number in the group went up so
did conformity