Describe How Groups Can Influence People in Positive and Negative Ways.

981 Words Mar 14th, 2011 4 Pages
Describe how groups can influence people in positive and negative ways.

We as people have many different roles within our life, these roles serve many different purposes. We also we find we belong to different groups in which we play our different roles, this makes up our social identity. It is these groups that can have a negative or a positive effect on ourselves. We can be part of the “in group” or the “out group” depending on somebody's experience of the membership of that group, sometimes groups maintain an us and them mentality when it comes to being part of it. The norms of the group are expected to be adhered to by members, and this can lead to members being expected to conform, non conformity can often lead to role conflict
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However, in the Asche experiment, Solomon Asche (1955), Starting with psychology, Milton Keynes, Open university, shows an example of group pressure and conformity, in the experiment 6 people where sat round a table taking part in an experiment on how we perceive things, the group was shown a picture of a straight line, then they were given a picture of 3 more lines of different lengths, the participants were then asked to pick out a line that is similar in length to the 1st line. Each person identified their choice out loud. All but one participant was in league with the experimenter and they deliberately were giving false answers to see if the one sole participant not in league would conform to the group pressure and give the same wrong answer simply to fit in with the others. This experiment shows that some people will conform and give same answer as the others, this can be for several reasons for example some people have a need to fit in and be accepted and others may not want to appear to get things wrong and look silly in front of other people. Group pressure can have a negative affect on a person by pressuring them into making an incorrect or maybe even dangerous descion for themselves. We also need a certain level of conformity for groups to operate whether it be a small group such as a family or a large group such as society, the levels of conformity will vary greatly according to the collectivist or the individualistic

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