Conformity Essay

1189 Words Jan 25th, 2013 5 Pages
Describing a study on conformity

Conformity is a form of social influence which involves a change in a belief or behaviour in order to fit in with a particular group. This change is in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms / expectations) group pressure. SHERIF
Muzafer Sherif (1935) conducted a lab experiment study on conformity in 1935. Sherif conducted this study by putting participants in a dark room and told them to watch a pinpoint of light and report how far it moved. However psychologists had discovered that a small, still light in a dark room often appeared to be moving and this was known as the autokinetic effect. The autokinetic effect is an
…show more content…
In conclusion the results show that when in an uncertain situation, a person will look to others who know more or better for help thus meaning they adopt the group norm. They want to do the right thing but they might not have the right information. In addition to this, watching other people can provide this information; and this is known as informational conformity.

Zimbardo’s experiment was designed to show conformity to social roles, this is an example of normative influence. Volunteers were given power and asked to act as guards over other volunteers who were prisoners. The aim of his study was to see the psychological effects of making 'normal', 'good' people into prisoners or guards. He had 24 middle class, male college students as volunteers; they were mentally sound in tests and no criminal records, were paid $15 per day and divided into prisoners or guards by the flip of a coin.
The procedure of his study was that the prisoners were arrested at their homes at the start of the study, blindfolded and taken to Stanford University Psychology Department basement, which had been converted into a realistic prison! From then on the volunteers were treated as prisoners by the other volunteers who were guards. The study was stopped after six days because the guards became

Related Documents