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Transcript of Conformity
The rope test is a great experiment based on the theme concerning some of the many aspects of Psychology. Looking at the definition of conformity is when you allow your surroundings to influence or change your behaviors. With this psychological experiment, we focus mainly on human behavior, and how it goes along with the definition. Once people saw others believing there was a rope, by walking around or over the “rope”, they followed suit. This experiment also shows that the average person’s natural reaction is to go around whatever is in front of them.
Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to a group. It is the tendency to conform in small groups and/or in society as a whole, and come from from unconscious influences, or direct and social pressure. Conformity often occurs around others, or when an individual is alone.
An independent variable is the presumed cause, a variable that stands alone; it is unchanged by the other variables you are trying to measure. The independent variable in our experiment was the two group members holding and pulling the “rope”. The rope pulling stayed constant,it was unchanged. Whereas the dependent variable is the presumed effect. A dependent variable is something that depends on other factors. In our experiment, the dependent variable could be seen as the behavior that the subjects performed as our team members pretended to pull the “rope”. Because they believed there was a rope, and everyone else that went before them went around, they also followed their example and walked around. Pulling a rope causes a change in human behavior, and it is not possible for human behavior to cause a change in pulling a rope. There were a total of thirty people that we performed this experiment on, 11 of those subjects actually changed their behavior to match those of other subjects around them.
The study of obedience has been dominated by the experiments of Stanley Milgram, who studied participants who followed potentially "harmful commands of an authority".
Participants in obedience experiments are caught in a conflict between two opposing forces: normative social influence and moral imperatives. To modify the strength of these forces, participants tend to tune out the learner and to tune in the experimenter.
Although Milgram's results catergorized everyone as "counterintuitive", seeing theym as less surprising by considering the stepwise nature of his commands, the attempts to terminate the experiment made by most participants, and the ability of participants to place responsibility on the experimenter, not themselves.
Compliance with the requests of others may be provoked through both "reason-based techniques and emotion-based techniques".
Reason-based approaches include invoking the mutal benefit by doing a favor for someone, ex of "the door-in-the-face technique", and starting up a "foot-in-the-door" technique as well by first getting someone to agree to a small request before making the more substantial request in which one is really interested
There are various ways to conduct research on conformity.
The first psychologist was Jenness to study conformity. He conducted an experiment involving to ask individuals to estimate of how many beans were in a jar. Jenness then had the individuals grouped to discuss their answers together. Overall, it was determined that most changed their answer because they were likely influenced to be just as the others.
Another researcher by the name of Solomon Asch experimented by doing a vision test. Asch asked questions about the pictures to the individual who was surrounded by a group of people that were giving wrong answers to influence the individual. It proved a person amongst group is easily persuaded.
Overall, group size, age and gender are common factors that contribute to conformity and impact the way a person thinks for them self. Majority of people go under the influence to fit, that's the reason conformity is usually experimented in groups.
The psychological reason people conform
Conformity occurs when the subject repeats or succumbs to the whims of people, society, ideals etc. and changes their actions to appease them.
Guandong S, Qinhai M, Fangfei W, Lin L. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF CONFORMITY. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal [serial online]. October 2012;40(8):1365-1372. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Conformity splits into irrational conformity and rational conformity.
Rational conformity splits into compliance, abidance, and obedience. It differs from irrational behavior in that enacts by thinking and reasoning instead of intuitive behavior.
Irrational conformity or herd behavior occurs as a result of intuitive and instinctive actions.
It splits into narrow conformity and generalized conformity.
Narrow conformity is when the subject's behavior mimics or is influenced by the majority.
Abidance/ Self-identity Theory
Obedience is the behavior produced by the commands of
authority (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2011).
The subject that is in an uncertain psychological situation abides by the object which is the guiding principle or person.
The uncertain condition enhances the person's trust to the said object. Take for an example a child as the subject and the parent as the object that influences the child's behavior due to the child's inefficiency to be self- sufficient in ideals and basic necessities. The parent believes it is bad to not wash his/her hands so the child abides to what the parent thinks. This is one form of abidance.
Under conditions of uncertainty or psychological ambiguity, the
individual must follow the cues of others. Guandong S, Qinhai M, Fangfei W, Lin L.1368
Compliance means that the subject assumes the same actions or
attitudes as the object’s expectations after summarizing, judging, and deducing
his/her action and attitude, even though he/she may not think it is right (Guandong
& Lei, 2007)
Compliance enacts itself in effort to exhilarate others, as stated in the exhilaration theory of compliance.
that the subject keeps the action and attitude the same as that of the object to
seek rewards or avoid punishments after summarizing, judging, and deducing
the object (Guandong, Zhitian, & Miao, 2008)
The subject (subordinate whether it be individuals, organizations, policies etc.) obeys the authority figure in order to obtain the valence. The valence could be monetary or emotional gain. When the person thinks that the valence is positive, expectancy occurs and then follows the obedience. This is the expectation theory.
The vast majority of the individuals we are to encounter will base their actions depending upon how the people before them or around reacted to the experiment; they will model their behavior.
Herd behavior is when an individual accepts or mimics the actions or attitudes of anything ranging from society, rules, groups etc. It is a result of a reliance of intuition and genetic instinct. It is not always a bad thing as it sometimes results in the development of rational conformity. However, it typically has negative consequences.
One way to curb herd behavior is to rely on rational thinking rather than solely on intuitive thinking.
What effect would two individuals, situated on opposite sides of the sidewalk while pretending to hold an invisible rope, have on a group of community college students walking to their next class?
Would they exhibit behavior that indicates conformity, or ignore the rope altogether?
Operational Definition of Variables
As previously mentioned, the independent variable in our experiment was the invisible rope. Our 'rope' reached a span of 7 feet and 3 inches, or 220.98 cm.
The dependent variable,as mentioned, was the behavior that was exhibited from all the participants. In this experiment, we define behavior as the way in which a person acts or conducts themselves in response to a stimulus that demands attention.
After conducting our experiment, it became apparent that our hypothesis was incorrect. The majority of our subjects did not conform to our invisible rope; some paused to gauge the situation they were in, but ultimately they chose to disregard it and walk through it as though there was nothing there. Of the 30 individuals that we entrapped into our experiment, only 11 displayed behavior that would indicate conformity (stepping over the rope or asking one of us what to do).
We found that the younger a person was, the more likely they were to step over the rope. The older an individual was, the more likely they were to be hesitant.
Although the experiment did not bode well for our hypothesis, we must consider other factors that may have dictated why so many people did not react to our experiment:
They did not notice our rope
They were in a rush (we ARE college students, after all!)
They were aware of what we were doing and simply chose to spoil it for us. (Many individuals did, in fact, comment on this afterward if we happened to see them again).
In order to obtain more accurate results, we would have needed to carry on this experiment continuously, multiple times over.
When it came to our experiment their were a few difficulties that occurred.
When some was faced with our experiment, some one in the distant that would see this and would already be aware.
When people would walk in groups, they were more confident.
People wouldn't be aware of our experiment.
Some people have seen our experiment before