The Power Of Conformity; Social Influence

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 Jo Hanniffy 0 Comments

Hey, here I am. Back again in subtends of Psychology topic’s area. The recent phenomena, either in internet or wake-life (real-life) have inspired me a lot to carry this topic into an idea to write about this, and link them to psychology.  
Before we go to the topic, I will write a slight story of my childhood whereas most people thought that I was not typical a teenager who difficult to comfort and obey to something; in other words we call it in bahasa as ‘pembangkang’. Fortunately, my mom had a differ opinion to others and always defended me and said that in fact of the spite I was smart girl. Thank you indeed Mom. Don’t take it seriously of what my Mom said about me; I wasn’t that smart. She was just trying to make the whole things in a positive thought as I was ‘nakal’ enough in my childhood till teenager life.
I often got trouble at school just as I did not obey the rules such as must wore black shoes on Monday (I hated it so much. And my reason was: what was making it different wearing black shoes on Monday or in another day? Absolutely nonsense and stupid I assumed) so I had to clean all the toilets at school as the reward of being bad student. Well, honestly, I was so happy to clean all the toilets rather than must to obey the rules which actually I did not understand what it was for.
That’s a slight of story of my teenager hood.  However, on the other hands some people likely find it easy to conform something even though they know it is wrong, particularly if it’s only you the person who disagree.
Why do we conform?
Below are some reasons why do people conform;
1.   Acceptance/approval
We don’t want to be denied of a society where we live.
2.   Avoid criticism
Some people dislike being criticized by others.
3.   Decrease ambiguity
Too many ambiguities would rear confusions.
4.   Clarify what should be done
Provide ideas to solve problem.
5.   Validate self
As an attendance to proof that we’re in that group.
6.   Reinforced
To reinforced the conformity.
7.   Social comparison
To compare the sociality life.
You may want to add more the reasons above according to your own experience. However, the reasons above are experimented by a research method in psychology ethics. According to those reasons above, thus it has clear account how forceful conformity effecting our behaviour or attitudes.
Let me give you one of study research in this field. Asch has shown in his study research in 1951 how powerful conformity to change a person’s behaviour, attitude and even strongly effecting mind and belief. In his study research about conformity, he made a group, about 7 people. All were experimenters excepted one was as subject. The experimenter asked each of them to conform about a diagram of lines (see below).

As I said earlier that all were experimenters excepted one was as the subject. The question was the experimenter asked which the same line from the exhibit 1 according to exhibit 2? That was so easy answer, wasn’t it? If we ask a 4-year-old kid, they would answer it easily.
First to 3 sessions were fine. All the experimenters answered all the questions rightly.
However, when the experimenters gave their conformity that exhibit I same as the exhibit II B. However, the subject still gave his conformity to agree that their answer was right. Though he knew exactly it wasn’t right.
How do you find it on your own experience? I am dead sure you got many the phenomena of conformities.
So, what factors are affecting conformity?
1.   Size of group
2.   Cohesiveness
3.   Unanimity
4.   Public commitment
5.   Culture
6.   Personality
7.   Gender
See those factors above and link them to the recent phenomena in our life and this beautiful country; Indonesia.
DBLN, 18.24-120110


Nice saying shows your character but that doesn't mean you can criticize. You can still do both in nice and polite way.

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