Allport's Theory Of Group Analysis

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“There is no psychology of groups, which is not essentially and entirely a psychology of individuals” 1 –Allport, 1924. The opening statement describes Allport’s argument that; all group psychology can be explained by focusing on the psychology of individuals. In other words, he argues that the group psychology is a false label of individual psychology. Conformity is a part of group psychology that can be broken down into smaller parts, each with their own supporting evidence as separate components of a greater concept, similar to the functionalist’s human body approach to society. There are three levels of conformity according to Kelman2 (1958) Compliance, Internalisation and Identification. This analysis will only focus on the first concept …show more content…
We conform to groups because of an intrinsic need within the individual. “Group psychology” is the dependant variable because it is what psychologists are measuring but the “individual” is the independent variable because this is what is being manipulating it. The true cause of group psychology is the processes of the individual mind. Simply, compliance is totally dependent on how independent and how self-sufficient the individual is5. If the participant believe they are right, or does not care what other people believe, then they with not conform, and therefore group psychology is negated due to the individual. Allport’s argument is similar in a regard to internal attribution theory. He assigns the cause of behaviour to internal characteristics of the individual, and argues that all group psychology can be explained by enduring internal attributions. That in the end we conform as choice based on a weighing up of options and consequences and how they affect the individual. For example, we may choose to conform because it is seen as socially desirable to us, or perhaps due to a hedonistic relevance; we may conform if the other person’s behaviour appears to be directly intended to benefit or harm …show more content…
It is however something of perspective, you can look at the argument from both sides. It is important however to consider how important the individual is in explaining why we conform and other forms of group psychology, but that is just as important to look at the impact of the group on the individual, by ignoring the contribution of either perspective is far too reductionist and isolationist an

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