The Power of Conformity Essay

747 Words Mar 24th, 2005 3 Pages
The Power of Conformity Ryan Herlong

Conformity refers to an individual's behavior that is performed because of group pressure, even though that pressure might not involve a direct request. Many people want to think that they are conformist enough so that they are not looked upon as strange to others and nonconformist enough to demonstrate that they are capable of thinking by themselves. For many years, psychologists have been interested in human conformity. Usually when people are in groups, they behave according to how those in the group behave. That indicates that conformity can affect a person's behavior and make a person do things that may be against their ethics, attitudes, and morals. The study of
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Asch found out that 75% of the subjects conformed at least once in the trials, but not one person conformed every time. The other 25% did not conform with any of the groups decisions. Some of the experiments had the subjects write down their answer so the line lengths could be accurately judged. In these experiments, 98% of the real subjects answered correctly. Asch found out many things from the experiment. Some of the findings are social support, attraction and commitment to the group, size of the group, and sex. Asch did the same experiment with a slight variation. He changed the answers of the seven subjects so that one of them always gave the right answer. This comforted the real subject and only 5% of the subjects agreed with the group answer. This social support experiment showed that if one person gives the same answer then a person feels more comfortable. Also, other experiments showed that the more attracted and committed a person is to a group, the more likely they are to conform. Asch thought the bigger the group, the more likely a person is to conform. This is not the case. Statistics showed that conformity increased until there was about six or seven people in the experiment. Then the subject felt as if everyone else was working against him/her. Early studies showed that women conformed more than men in the experiments. But, later studies showed that there is no

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