Evaluating the types and explanations of conformity


Evaluating the types and explanations of conformity


  • Research support for Normative Social Influence - Asch did a study in which the participants wrote down their answers instead of speaking aloud. Conformity fell here, suggesting people conform to fit in.
  • Research support for Informational Social Influence - Lucas’ study found conformity rose when problems were more difficult as they could not rely on their own capabilities to support their answer, so looked to others for help.


  • Countering support for ISI - it is unclear whether ISI or NSI are occurring in Asch and Lucas’ studies. It is hard to separate NSI and ISI as in many situations, both work together.
  • Individual differences in NSI - it does not always predict conformity. Some people (“nAffiliators”) want to relate to others and be included in the group. NSI is more prevalent in some individuals than in others, which makes them more likely to conform due to NSI.


There is a balanced argument for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations of conformity. 


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