What is Conformity?
Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a 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.
Conformity can also be simply defined as “yielding to group pressures” (Crutchfield, 1955). Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism, etc. Conformity is also known as majority influence (or group pressure).
The term conformity is often used to indicate an agreement to the majority position, brought about either by a desire to ‘fit in’ or be liked (normative) or because of a desire to be
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Normative Conformity | Informational Conformity | * Yielding to group pressure because a person wants to fit in with the group. E.g.Asch Line Study. * Conforming because the person is scared of being rejected by the group. * This type of conformity usually involves compliance – where a person publicly accepts the views of a group but privately rejects them. | * This usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for guidance. * Or when a person is in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation and socially compares their behavior with the group. E.g. Sherif's Study. * This type of conformity usually involves internalization – where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual. | Compliance | Internalization | * Publicly changing behavior to fit in with the group while privately disagreeing. * In other words, conforming to the majority (publicly), in spite of not really agreeing with them (privately). * This is seen in Asch’s line experiment. | * Publicly changing behavior to fit in with the group and also agreeing with them privately. * This is seen in Sherif’s autokinetic experiment. | Ingratiational Conformity | Identification | * Where a person conforms to impress or gain favor/acceptance from other people. * It is similar to normative influence, but is motivated by the need for social rewards rather than the threat of rejection, i.e., group pressure does