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Normative Conformity

Decent Essays
Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change of behaviour to fit within a particular group (McLeod, 2007). This essay will look at whether there is a connection between authority, majority influence and the level of conformity given by the participants.
There are two types of social conformity. These are Normative conformity and informational conformity developed by Deutsch and Gerard (1955). Normative conformity occurs when an individual feels a desire to be liked and accepted. An example of this could be smoking due to peer pressure in groups and feeling the need to conform to the majority in order to fit in (Long-Crowell, 2003). Informative conformity however occurs when an individual desires to be right. An example of this could be that there ae 3 food samples of cheese on a board, one of them is significantly more empty than the other two. A person may assume that the cheese sample with the less amount of cheese is empty for a reason and so may be the nicest. This can be informing them of information that they didn’t already know previously (Long-Crowell, 2003)
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If individuals conform to a set of rules, also known as a social norm this can reduces deviance and crime. Acceptance also plays a huge part especially fashion for example, many fashion icons set trends which leads to groups of youths conforming to a certain look ie; skinny jeans and denim jackets.
There are also negative aspects of conformity such as group pressures. These can take the form of bullying, teasing, negative criticism or persuasion in doing something you don’t necessarily want to do in order to please the other group members or to fit in. This is known as majority influence where the majority influence the minority (McLeod, 2007).
Many experiments have been conducted into conformity such as Asch (1951-56), Crutchfield (1954) and Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment
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