college students

This is known as minority influence, a special case of informational influence. Minority influence is most likely when people can make a clear and consistent case for their point of view. If the minority fluctuates and shows uncertainty, the chance of influence is small. However, a minority that makes a strong, convincing case increases the probability of changing the majority’s beliefs and behaviors. Minority members who are perceived as experts, are high in status, or have benefited the group in the past are also more likely to succeed.

What Are the Different Types of Conformity?

Not all kinds of conformity are the same. Though psychological research has examined many aspects of conformity and related concepts, researchers have typically focused on two main types of conformity: informational and normative. Informational conformity is the tendency to turn to a group to glean information, make decisions, or form opinions. Normative conformity is the tendency to behave in certain ways in order to be accepted by a group. Of the two, normative conformity may be the most dangerous, as it can motivate someone to go along with a group even if they know the group is wrong.

An experimenter standing several feet away held up a card that depicted one line on the left side and three lines on the right side. The participant’s job was to say aloud which of the three lines on the right was the same length as the line on the left.


In the Asch conformity experiments, people frequently followed the majority judgment, even when the majority was wrong. According to Donelson Forsyth, after submitting to group pressures, individuals may find themselves facing one of several responses to conformity. These types of responses to conformity vary in their degree of public agreement versus private agreement. Conformity is the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, or behaviors in ways that are consistent with group norms. Norms are implicit, specific rules shared by a group of individuals on how they should behave. People may be susceptible to conform to group norms because they want to gain acceptance from their group. In another series of experiments, the American psychologist Solomon Asch assembled groups of seven to nine people for a study on visual perception.

  • Co-actors that are similar to us tend to push us more than those who are not.
  • They measured the willingness of participants to obey the instructions from an authority figure to supply fake electric shocks that would gradually increase to fatal levels.
  • Once again, there were both high and low motives to be accurate, but the results were the reverse of the first study.
  • Another form of minority influence can sometimes override conformity effects and lead to unhealthy group dynamics.

Test your vocabulary proficiency level with our award-winning program and see how your rank against millions of English language learners worldwide. Honoring, observanceconformity with law or custom or practice etc. If all your friends wear jeans to school and you wear checkered slacks, you could say you reject conformity — doing the same thing as everyone else. Compliance with the usages of an established church, especially the Church of England. Action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices, etc. Danes understand that wealth and happiness are public as well as personal matters. Conformity motivated by deference to authority or fear of punishment is likely to be harmful.

Minority influence

But at your meeting, you learn that the other members all disliked the book. Rather than go against the group Conformity, you might simply agree that the book was terrible. In this case, conformity is looking to the group for information and direction . You would probably watch what others were doing to see where you should hang your coat, stow your shoes, unroll your mat, and so on. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Submission to her husband in all respects and conformity to traditional behaviour are expected of her.


This type of nonconformity can be motivated by a need to rebel against the status quo instead of the need to be accurate in one’s opinion. Informational conformity occurs when individuals look to the group to seek information—deciding what products to buy, for instance, or which non-group members can be trusted. Normative conformity refers to the shifting of behaviors and beliefs resulting from this information gathering. Thus, the two types of conformity work together to shift behavior and encourage social cohesion. People learn social skills at an early age by observing and copying the behavior of others. As an individual grows older, the social pressure to conform with group norms becomes stronger.

Translations of conformity

For example, a popular experiment in conformity research, known as the Asch situation or Asch conformity experiments, primarily includes compliance and independence. Also, other responses to conformity can be identified in groups such as juries, sports teams and work teams. Because informational influence is based on insecurity about one’s beliefs, one would expect it to be more common when an individual feels dependent on others for information. Consistently with that assumption, people exhibit more conformity when they are working on ambiguous tasks than on unambiguous tasks.

  • Internalization occurs when the ideas and behaviors to which the individual is conforming reflect their sense of self and have become congruent with their values.
  • Participants created a norm through mutual social influence, which then influenced their private responses.
  • Even one voice of dissent can dampen a collective urge to conform to harmful behaviors.
  • Firstly, an individual who does not conform to the majority can display independence.
  • Sherif made use of the autokinetic effect, a perceptual illusion that occurs when people are asked to concentrate on a stationary point of light in a dark room.
  • When asked in the presence of confederates who were in on the experiment and who intentionally selected the wrong line, around 75% of participants conformed to the group at least once.
  • This process was demonstrated in a classic study in which college students deliberately gave wrong answers to a simple visual judgment task rather than go against the group.

Homeowners reduced the amount of energy they used when they learned that they were consuming more energy than their neighbors (Schultz, Nolan, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2007). Undergraduates selected the healthy food option when led to believe that other students had made this choice (Burger et al., 2010).

Hotel guests were more likely to reuse their towels when a hanger in the bathroom told them that this is what most guests did (Goldstein, Cialdini, & Griskevicius, 2008). And more people began using the stairs instead of the elevator when informed that the vast majority of people took the stairs to go up one or two floors (Burger & Shelton, 2011). In Kelman’s conceptualization of conformity, the term identification refers to conformity that is motivated by a desire to be accepted by a specific person or group. According to Harvard social psychologist Herbert Kelman, compliance is the outward appearance of conformity, regardless of whether or not one’s internal beliefs have changed.

What are the 3 types of conformity?

Herbert Kelman identified three major types of conformity: compliance, identification, and internalization.

In time, however, the individual’s underlying beliefs and attitudes may begin to shift as the opinions and behaviors of the group become ingrained and automatic. Accuracy also effects conformity, as the more accurate and reasonable the majority is in their decision than the more likely the individual will be to conform. As mentioned earlier, size also effects individuals’ likelihood to conform.

Similarly, the attractiveness of group members increases conformity. If an individual wishes to be liked by the group, they are increasingly likely to conform. Internalization is accepting the belief or behavior and conforming both publicly and privately, if the source is credible. It is the deepest influence on people, and it will affect them for a long time.

In an eyewitness identification, participants were shown a suspect individually and then in a lineup of other suspects. They were given one second to identify him, making it a difficult task. One group was told that their input was very important and would be used by the legal community. Being more motivated to get the right answer increased the tendency to conform.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *