Conformity and Obedience

Conformity and Obedience
Dr. Sanchez
Majority Influence:
Having an Ally in Dissent
• When there was an ally in Asch’s study,
conformity dropped by almost 80%.
• Why does having an ally reduce majority
influence on our behavior?
– More difficult to stand alone than with others
– Any dissent can reduce the normative
pressures to conform.
Majority Influence and
Gender Differences
• IV: Masculine, Feminine, or Stereotype
Neutral Q’s
• DV: Percent agreeing w/majority response
• Results?
– Men conformed more to feminine qs
– Women conformed more to masculine qs
– No difference on neutral items
Majority Influence and
Gender Differences
Conceptual IV: Social Pressure
IV: Public v. Private
DV: Percent agreeing w/majority response
– Men conformed less
– Women conformed more
• Why?
Majority Influence and
Gender Differences
• Sex differences appear to depend on:
– How comfortable people are with the
experimental task.
– Type of social pressure people face.
Majority Influence and Culture
• Cultures differ in the extent to which
people adhere to social norms.
• What determines whether a culture
becomes individualistic or collectivistic?
– The complexity of the society.
– The affluence of the society.
– The heterogeneity of the society.
Individualistic / Collectivistic
Great Britain
• Asia
• Africa
• South America
• Asch’s study = 63% did not conform!!!
Minority Influence
• Def. Process by which dissenters produce
• Moscovici: Nonconformists derive power
from the style of their behavior.
– “Consistent dissent” approach
– “The color study”
• Why?
Minority Influence
• Hollander: Minorities influence by first
accumulating idiosyncrasy credits.
– “First conform, then dissent” strategy.
• Why?
How Does Minority Influence
• Does minority influence work just like the
process of conformity?
• Dual Process Approach
– Because of their power and control, majorities
elicit public conformity through normative
– Because seen as seriously committed to their
views, minorities produce private conformity,
or conversion.
Majority vs. Minority Influence
• Relative impact of each depends on whether the
judgment that is being made is objective or
– Fact = Majority Rules
– Opinion = Minority & Majority influence
• The relative effects of majority and minority
viewpoints depend on how conformity is
– Direct, public measures vs. more indirect, private
measures of conformity.
• Benefits of minority influence
• Behavior change produced by the
commands of authority
• Remember:
– Compliance is a behavior change elicited by a
direct request
– Conformity is a change of perceptions,
opinions, or behaviors in ways that are
consistent with group norms
Milgram’s Research: Forces of
Destructive Obedience
• Conducted his experiments during the
time that Adolph Eichmann was being tried
for Nazi war crimes.
• Symbols of authority
• His unorthodox methods have been the
subject of much ethical debate.
The Prods Used in Milgram’s
“Please continue (or please go on).”
“The experiment requires that you continue.”
“It is absolutely essential that you continue.”
“You have no other choice; you must
go on.”
Milgram’s Baseline Results
The Obedient Participant
• No gender differences observed in level of
• Milgram’s basic findings have been
replicated in several different countries
and among different age groups.
• Milgram’s participants were tormented by
Are We All Nazis?
• No, an individual’s character can make a
• Authoritarian Personality: Submissive
toward figures of authority but aggressive
toward subordinates.

similar documents