Definition: The tendency of people to adopt the behaviors, attitudes, and opinions of other members of a group.

Quite Simply...

  • People change attitudes due to the decision or action someone around them has made.
  • When people are in groups or committees, they are more likely to adopt the same attitudes and opinions of the other members in the group.
  • People change their behaviors, attitudes, and opinions to match those of their peers.
  • Conformity alters one's perception of how one should act, based on how others act.

Examples of Conformity

  • When you have a certain answer in your head (such as A), but when the teacher asks for the correct answer and everyone around you says B, you change your answer to B because everyone else did, even though you thought it was wrong.
  • In South Park, when some kids start dressing as vampires, the other kids conform and also start dressing like vampires.
  • When the Beatles became popular many hundreds of groups tried to create a similar sound.
  • Whenever a hot new trend comes out, such as the craze over Flappy Bird, everyone tries to be a part of it.
  • Since everyone has a FaceBook and Twitter, I need to get one as well.
  • When people see a group of people staring at the ceiling, everyone looks up to see what the group is looking at.
  • When you've had a Motorola phone your whole life and you never had problems out of it, but everyone in your school has iPhones so you buy one too.
  • Smoking at a party even though you don't smoke, but everybody else at the party is smoking.

Conformity: The Asch Effect

Also known as the Asch Paradigm, the Asch Experiment was conducted in 1951 by Solomon Asch in order to determine the extent to which group opinion could influence and individual's own opinion.

Asch conducted his experiment by assembling a groups of male college students, telling them that they would be participating in a test of visual perception. The students would be shown a sample line, and then asked to match that line with a line of the same length. Asch found that when the students were alone, mistakes were rare, and most were able to successfully match the sample line with the correct line from the three options provided. However, when the students were asked after hearing the (incorrect) responses of many students prior, the individual student's answer was 50-80% more likely to include an incorrect response identical to the response the trained majority chose.

external image asch_conformity.gif
Recreation of Asch Experiment Line Comparison Sample

See Also...

Additional Resources

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