Conformity in Groups (Social Psychology)

psychpost | 8/19/2011 12:42:00 AM

Conformity: Behaving according to the to real or imagined expectations of other, even against one's own wishes.

When does it happen? Confusion due to lack of information

Informational Social Influence: Phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior for a given situation.This can lead to Private Acceptance (You believe it) and/or Public Acceptance (You comply to the group).
A famous Social Psychology experiment where we see the effect of Conformity in groups is known as the Asch Line Study.

In this experiment the participant is placed with a group of 6 other "participants" who are actually confederates (planted by the experimenter). The participant was told that (s)he would be participating in a "vision test". The participants would be given a line and choose the line that is the same as the given line.

Obviously it's C right?
Obviously it is extremely easy to pick out the correct line. The actual aim of the experiment is to see how the real participant would react to the confederate's behavior. After a couple of normal responses the confederates all gave an incorrect answer, to the shock of the actual participant.

Would the participant give the correct answer or conform to the group's obviously incorrect answer? 76% of the participants succumbed to the pressure of the group and also answered incorrectly.

This experiment shows us something very important about group dynamics, that people are afraid to "rock the boat" even when the correct answer is obvious. Social Psychology study also reveals that there are many other ways that a group can produce behavior that is not logical. I will get to those in another post but they are known as "Process Loss" if you would like to do some research on it. 

I will most likely be writing more posts following this on how groups affect decision making but I am currently busy with university school work and studying at the moment.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kheel Center (Flickr)

32 responses to "Conformity in Groups (Social Psychology)"

  1. i love peopel who do rock the boat, and im always questioning people and im sur ei would argue with the guys on that experiment XD,, i mean come on!

  2. That's interesting. Did the participants admit to thinking "wtf" at the other people's answers?

  3. I love this experiment. Some people just don't have the balls to disagree. I'd like tot think I'd be of the 24% that would point it out, but who knows, lol. Followed+

  4. I always said honestly what was going trough my mind. Sometimes i get yelled at because of that but i think it is worth it. Most people live a live full of social fears and sorrows.

  5. good news everyone

  6. "That's interesting. Did the participants admit to thinking "wtf" at the other people's answers?"

    Good question

  7. Interesting analysis.

  8. good post

  9. Really interesting!
    Why don't participants disagree? I'd give the correct answer, no matter what other people say.

  10. Thanks for the information! Was really helpful! Keep up the great blog work!

  11. very interesting, I studied psychology and I love it. And I'm one of those who like to rock the boat :)

  12. Mob mentality can be good or bad

  13. Happens all the time in some form or another!

  14. Yep. And after learning about this I try and do the opposite of things and go against conformity.

  15. that's really interesting. i can see that this is true. looking forward to new posts :)

  16. I'd still say C. Dumbass teammates :P
    No, really interesting article. Humans are strange..

  17. Interesting, a similar thing happened in my old school, if we had to clap to a beat, people would speed up clapping, then other would follow, I knew they were too fast but I joined in for the sake of not being the odd one out.

  18. hehehehe people can be manipulated so easily sometimes.

  19. We are social animals after all, conforming to the group is deeply ingrained in our culture and instincts

  20. nice post :P

  21. Also the fear of being wrong in such an obvious scenario scares the hell out of most people.

  22. very interesting stuff. I have taken some psych classes this is cool.

  23. Haha, that's cool!

  24. Groupthink can be very's disappointing how people hesitate to go against the grain, even if it's what's right.

  25. I love this!

  26. weitd stuff


  28. I love how people feel the need to follow the crowd. haha sounds like 3 out of 4 people are usually sheep

  29. I'm one of those people that feel's the need to ask Why ? Maybe it does rock the boat from time to time but needs to be done.

  30. Wow, that's actually really crazy.. what do you mean by 'confederates' though?

  31. This is crazy, but you can see how, and why it works! Great post bro :D

  32. What a bunch of tards, pick the right answer that you know is the correct one and fuck the rest of the world.

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