Topics: Sociology, Social psychology, Adolescence Pages: 5 (1844 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Influence of Conformity and Obedience
Kimberly McCullough
PSYCH/555 Social Psychology
March 18, 2013
Diana Dobier, PsyD

Influence of Conformity
There are three types of influence on a person. These three are conformity, obedience and compliance. Conformity and Obedience are very different in many ways. The first purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast conformity and obedience. There has been many studies on the role of social groups in ones decisions. This paper will review a study done by Solomon Asch. The way that this study was done as well as the results will be explored throughout this paper. More contemporary studies have been done on social influence. This paper will review a study done by Bruce G Simons-Morton. This study was to determine the reason for adolescent smoking. This paper will show the results of this study when the adolescent is with his or her peers or if he or she is just with his or her best friend. There are people who will deviate from the social norms. This paper will cover the reasons why people tend to deviate. Conformity and Obedience

Conformity is the way one acts based on the majority of others.  This means that most people when in a group will follow the rest of the group in a desire to fit in.  People don’t want to be viewed as different.  A person will act the way the rest of the crowd acts even if this is really not who he or she really is.  It is common for people to do what they think the rest of the group will do.  This is called the false consensus effect (Fiske, 2010).  This concept has been shown in many experiments where people were asked to do something without knowing what others are doing.  The majority of the people based his or her decision on what they felt the rest of the group of participants would say.  One study was done in which a group of people were asked to wear a sign promoting a restaurant (Fiske, 2010).  The participants who agreed to do this did so because they thought the rest of the participants would say yes. The same went with those who said no they would not participate because they felt that the rest of the participants would not wear the sign.   Obedience

Obedience is different than conformity in that one person can influence the decision of the group.  This person is often an authority figure such as a teacher or a police officer.  There are people who do not obey authority.  These people often rebel for several reasons.  They may feel that the authority is corrupt (Fiske, 2010).  They may also want to stand out from the crowd as a rebel..  For the most part people will follow authority.  This has shown the hold up over time regardless of gender, culture, and personality.  It has also been shown that people follow authority regardless of many different situations.  Trust also plays a big factor in obedience.  A person must trust the person in charge to be obedient to things he or she says. Obedience is when an authority figure tells you to do something opposed to conformity where one does what he or she does what the rest of the crowd, or what he or she thinks the crowd, does (Fiske, 2010) Classical Study

A study done in the 1950’s was done by Solomon Asch  to determine the effect of a group on oneself (Fiske, 2010). The first study was done by Sherif.  The participants of the study were put in a dark room with others that were a part of the experiment. The participants did not know that the others in their group were part of the experiment who knew the aim of the experiment.   They were to verbally voice their opinion on the lines placed on a card.  In this experiment those who were involved purposely gave the wrong answer. This caused the participant to conform due to the influence of the group to whatever answer the rest of the group gave.  The participants truly believed that the answers that the rest of the group gave were the correct answers.   It was shown that the groups answer changed with the wrong...

References: Fiske, S. T. (2010). Social beings: Core motives in social psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Son, Inc.
Simons-morton, B., & Farhat, T. (2010). Recent findings on peer group influences on adolescent smoking. Journal of Primary Prevention, 31(4), 191-208. doi:
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