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12. Discuss factors influencing conformity

Factors influencing conformity (e.g. group thinking, minority influence, risky shift)

Informative social influence: copying other people because we are unsure of ourselves or have doubts. Look at other people’s examples. Sometimes to obtain information, to conform. Understand what is right or wrong. Crutchfield

Normative social influence:
<definition> Wanting to fit in a group or to conform. It only changes your public behaviour but not what one personally thinks. To not seem like an outsider and also due to peer pressure.
<Examples> Asch’s visual judgement experiment (1951)
74% conformed, weaknesses are it is only of American culture, 1950s time period, lacks ecovalidity, only male, did not account for the minority who did not conform.
Zimbardo’s prison simulation experiment (1971)
Even when some guards disagreed with what the other guards treated the prisoners, they still conformed.
<weaknesses> Does not apply to everything E.g. those who do not conform (the exceptions)
<Strengths> Accounts for the majority of people

Group think: When people in a group all have the same opinion and everyone does genuinely agree and internally in one’s mind there is not other explanation for it. E.g. Teachers are always right.
<definition> Members of the group try to minimize conflicts and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluation ideas.
Irving Janis studied some American Foreign policy disasters. The Bay of Pigs Fiasco (1961) when US administration sought to overthrow Cuban Government of Fidel Castro.
- Decisions were made largely due to cohesive nature of committees which made them.
- A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.
<causes> Illusion or vulnerability and conformity/pressure to the group or authority figures.
<When it occurs> Occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgement.
<8 symptoms>
1. Illusion of invulnerability
2. Collective rationalization
3. Belief in inherent morality
4. Stereotyped views of out-groups
5. Direct pressure on dissenters
6. Self-censorship
Illusion of unanimity
Self-appointed mindguards.

Unanimity: When everyone agrees to a given situation. Higher the unanimity, the more likely one is to conform. If it is not unanimous then there would be people less likely to conform. Unanimity is important in court cases.

<definition> The complete agreement by all people in a given situation.
Asch — everyone agrees to a situation, the more people will conform
Bond and Smith

- Can be used in real life E.g. court, juries
- Jury rule for conviction in some legal systems is a unanimity rule
- Unanimity rule gives each and every voter a vote over the outcome
- If any voters have corrupt motives, they may have to be laid off.
Stress from trying to fit in and follow other people

Minority influence: How one small idea could transform into a huge influence. Minority can influence majority.
Moscovici and Lage

note: I often just skip ‘group think’ since it’s one of the factors I least understand.

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