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Going Along With The Majority: Conformity

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Lauren Berko

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of Going Along With The Majority: Conformity

By: Lauren Going Along With The Majority: A Closer Look Into Conformity A type of social influence in which individuals change their attitudes or behavior to adhere to existing social norms (p.254). Conformity Illustrating Conformity Conformity in our history Further Research The Responsive Bystander : How Social Group Membership and Group Size Can Encourage as Well as Inhibit Bystander Intervention:
Studied the effect of group size on bystander intervention
Found that groups of friends were more likely to intervene than groups of stangers
Why? Ingroup favoritism, larger groups lead to greater feelings of group efficacy and greater likelihood of collective action
Study 1 - actions of individuals on an altercation between a man and a woman in a public place
Study 2 - examined gender and in-group and out-group sizes
Study 3 - real life examples Easy A Social Norms Rules indicating how individuals are expected to behave in specific situations (p.255). Discussion Questions Take a few minutes to write down your answers:

Think of a time or situation where you felt forced to conform to the social norms around you. Did you conform?

How do you believe conformity is positive? Give an example.

How do you believe conformity is negative? Give an example. Let's Talk References:
Baron, R. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2012). Social psychology. Boston: Pearson.

Burn, S., & Ward, A. (2005). Men's Conformity to
Traditional Masculinity and Relationship Satisfaction. Psychology Of Men & Masculinity, 6(4), 254-263. doi:10.1037/1524-9220.6.4.254

Conformity: Influencing Behavior. Retrieved November 01, 2012, from

Levine, M., & Crowther, S. (2008). The responsive
bystander: How social group membership and group size can encourage as well as inhibit bystander intervention. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 95(6), 1429-1439. doi:10.1037/a0012634 Myths Men are less likely to conform than women.
Studies have contradicted this statement.
Any differences that exist are very small.

Only those with low self-esteem conform.
High self-esteem implies superiority
Men and women differ in levels of self-esteem because of gender discrimination
Evidence does not support this theory

We can't control conformity.
To resist social influence, we have to become aware that we are doing it and then find someone who thinks as we do. How do we resolve this issue? 1900 2000 1950 1919 Hitler's rise to power 1950 The Asch Experiment 1971 Zimbardo's Experiment Who wants to share? Mean Girls Social Norms Gender Roles Do women and men differ?

What types of gender roles exist for women and men?
What are the consequences of going against them? Now think of a time in history where we've seen conformity in action. Put those answers aside for now. Conformity can be seen throughout our history, in the media, the military, and high schools across America. It is seen in Hitler's rise to power, civil rights movements, and several experiments including the Asch experiment and Zimbardo's prison study. We can argue that it's in our nature to go along with the group and that those who supported Hitler only did what they believed was right at the time. Most often people decide to go along with the majority because they are motivated by the desire to be liked or accepted and the desire to be right. This is what the Nazis experienced during Hitler's rise to power (p.261). Zimbardo's experiment began with volunteers at Standford University. They were chosen at random to be either prisoners or guards. Sure enough the participants conformed to their assigned roles. The prisoners became passive and depressed and the guards became brutal and sadistic (p.263-264). Present Day Examples Men's Conformity to Traditional Masculinity and Relationship Satisfaction:
Results: conformity to traditional masculine norms as measured by the CMNI would be negatively associated with intimate relationship satisfaction as measured by the RAS for both women and men.
Women perceiving that their male partners conformed more to traditional masculinity norms were less satisfied with their relationships.
Men that are more conforming to traditional male norms were also less satisfied with their intimate relationships. ? "Asch’s research (and subsequent investigations) show that conformity does not increase much after group size reaches 4 or 5 other people"(Pearson). A previously homeschooled girl named Cady quickly learns the rules of high school in this scene. At first she is befriended by Damian and Janis who belong to the "out-group," but soon meets the Plastics, or "in-group" at school. She's immediately let into their group and she learns that she has to conform to all their rules such as being allowed to wear her hair up only once a week, wearing pink on Wednesdays, and wearing jeans on Fridays. She's told that if she breaks any of these rules, she will not be allowed to sit with them at lunch. Throughout the movie Cady shows her hatred toward the leader of the Plastics, Regina, but still wanted to be a part of their group because she did not want to risk social disapproval. In this film the main character, Olive, is trying to conform to the idea of what she thinks others think she should be. After making up a story about losing her virginity and telling her best friend, Olive is quickly surrounded by rumors. Instead of fighting them she decides to run with it, as you will see in this scene. Is there even really an issue? How breaking away from conformity can be positive

Those who broke away from norms in our society:
Galileo, Pasteur, and Freud. All started as minorities and eventually were respected for their theories (p.271). Examples seen in our media today... CBS reports: "Is it a Man's World"
How are our gender roles and stereotypes effecting our actions?
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57454755/as-gender-roles-change-are-men-out-of-step/ Exert powerful effects on our everyday behavior
Some are stated explicitly, and others are not as clear
Examples: Standing for the national anthem, leaving a tip at a restaurant no matter the quality of the service Do we need conformity? Without conformity our world would be chaos. What would happen if people, didn't wait in lines or did not follow traffic regulations?

Interestingly people tend to deny that they are conforming because of the need to "be independent," but it is clear that in some cases it is positive and unavoidable. Yet we still give it a negative connotation. But when does conformity become an issue? Conformity can cause people to say things they may not believe, suppress their own values, keep things to themselves or do things they may not agree with.
Other negative side-effects:
Body issues- anorexia, eating disorders
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