Conformity Chapter 8 What is conformity? Doing what someone else wants you to do – ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Whether or not you want to Whether or not they are present Whether or not they told you to Whether or not they are a real person/group What is conformity? Do you “Press 1 now” when the voice on the other end of the phone tells you to? Do you stop at stop signs? Do you hold for “important messages?” What is conformity? Both obedience and conformity are generally good things. We teach our children to be obedient and to conform. Failure to conform creates social strife and violence. What is conformity? Definition: ◦ A change in one’s behavior due to the real or imagined influence of other people What is conformity? Americans are generally cultural nonconformists and consider conformity an implied threat to freedom. ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Don’t be a people pleaser. Don’t be a crowd follower. Think for yourself. Stand up for what you believe. Over my dead body A hill on which to die What is conformity? Often, when you are refusing to conform to one group, you are conforming to another. Why do we conform? It helps the flow of life. ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ We stand in line. We wait our turn. It helps things to stay organized. It maintains fairness. Why do we conform? Informational social influence – Do I really know what to do? ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Social referencing Bystander intervention How to spell something How to address someone Which fork to use Why do we conform? Sherif and the autokinetic effect ◦ People reached a common estimate of the apparent motion of a dot of light (public compliance) ◦ People kept the same estimate, even when later doing the task alone (private acceptance) Informational Social Influence Baron,Vandello & Brunsman (1996) ◦ Task – picking a perpetrator from a lineup ◦ Only saw slides for ½ second ◦ On some trials confederates were used ◦ Half of the participants were told the results would be used to select accurate eyewitnesses (and received $20.00) (High importance) ◦ High importance of the task led to greater conformity (51vs. 35%) When informational conformity backfires. Crisis – War of the Worlds – 1938 Gustav Le Bon (1895) contagion Mass psychogenic illness When informational conformity backfires Key Variables ◦ Ambiguity – no way to know ◦ Crisis – no time to think ◦ Experts – someone knows what to do Normative Social Influence Is based on the need to be accepted. Social norms are implicit rules for acceptable behavior. Deviant group members are: ◦ Ridiculed ◦ Punished ◦ Rejected Cohesive, Group-oriented Cultures Japan ◦ A whole class or school will sometimes turn against one student ◦ They will harass and bully the person. ◦ This may lead to the person committing suicide. ◦ Bikikomori are those who have withdrawn from social interaction and spend all their time at home ◦ Being deprived of human contact is stressful, traumatic, and psychologically painful. Asch Line-judging Experiments Not explained by informational social influence Most people conformed on roughly onethird of the trials Seventy-six percent of participants conformed at least once Fear of being a lone dissenter is strong. Social Disapproval Berns et al., 2005 Used fMRI to measure changes in brain activity Error rate was 13.8% when people were asked to match figures alone ◦ When answering alone or conforming to group wrong answers, brain activity showed in the posterior areas associated with vision and perception. ◦ When going against the group the amygdala (negative emotions) and right caudate nucleus (social behavior) lit up. The Importance of Accuracy Revisited Baron,Vandello & Brunsman (1996) ◦ This again involves picking the perpetrator from a lineup. However, here the task is made easy. Participants viewed each slide for 5 seconds and were shown each pair twice. Importance manipulations were done as in the other study. ◦ In this study, however, high importance caused the participants to conform less – not more. ◦ Why? What happens when you resist? Stage 1: target of most communication as groups members try to bring you back in line. Stage 2: teasing comments at first, turns negative Stage 3: the group withdraws and communication with the deviant drops sharply Stage 4: rejection of the deviant Factors in the Power of Normative Social Influence Strength: How important to you is the group? Immediacy: How close is the group in space and time? Group size: Number of people. Conformity increases as the number goes from 1-5. After that, it makes little difference. Allies: Having an ally (another deviant) encourages non-conformity.