Group conformity concept was scientifically proved and described by Salomon Asch. Asch conformity experiment began in the room in which they were associates of Asch (a group of students, made up of seven, eight or nine people) he introduced a real person - test subject -which did not know that other people are co-workers of experimenter. Then showed them two boards.
At first there was one line on the other three lines have consecutive numbers (1, 2, 3). They asked each participant to evaluate which of the three lines on the second board is closest to the line length of the first board and only then loudly express their opinions. The actual person being investigated to assess the length of episodes was the second or last, so after hearing the evaluations of others.
Timing of Asch conformity study
The length of the segments was so diverse that under normal conditions, the answer was very simple. Associates of experimenter, formerly instructed by him in most, of the trials gave answers not compatible with the reality, argued that the short line was much longer than it actually was, or vice versa (they had to give the wrong answer in 12 to 16 tests).
It turned out that in this type of situation about 1/3 of the responses of real people was consistent with the responses of colleagues of the experimenter and therefore incompatible with reality. What was the mechanism of succumbing to group pressure?
Conclusions of Asch experiment - group conformity effect
Asch concluded that: the larger group exerting pressure, the greater the degree of undergoing the pressure. The second important social factor influencing the level of succumbing to group pressure (group conformity) is the unanimity of the persons exercising pressure on the test subject:
- if only one person spoke opinions inconsistent with the opinion of exerting pressure, it succumbed to the pressure of the respondents to a much lesser extent than if all those exerting pressure were unanimous,
- if one of the co-experimenter, who initially gave assessments in accordance with reality, joined to the majority with inconsistent assessment, so that they were unanimous, the real subjects significantly increased the number of incorrect answers.
Examples of Group conformity
- Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is one of the most common examples of group conformity. This occurs when individuals feel the need to conform to the behavior or opinions of their peers in order to gain acceptance.
- Groupthink: Groupthink is another example of group conformity. This occurs when individuals in a group prioritize the group's opinion over their own individual opinion, leading to a collective decision that may not be the most logical or beneficial to the group.
- Social Norms: Social norms are another example of group conformity. This occurs when individuals follow the unwritten rules of society in order to fit in and be accepted by their peers. This can include dressing a certain way, speaking in a certain manner, and behaving in a certain way.
Advantages of Group conformity
An introduction to the advantages of group conformity: Group conformity can have a few advantages in certain situations.
- Group conformity can help to promote solidarity and unity within a group. This can help to boost morale and create a sense of purpose, which can be beneficial for the whole group.
- Group conformity can also help to create order within a group. When individuals conform to the norms of the group, it helps to prevent chaos by providing a set of expectations for all members to follow.
- Group conformity can also help to create a sense of belonging within the group. When people conform, they feel that they are part of something larger than themselves, which can be a powerful feeling.
- Group conformity can also help to ensure that decisions are made rationally and fairly. When everyone is on the same page and has the same goals, it can be easier to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group as a whole.
Limitations of Group conformity
Group conformity can have a number of limitations, including:
- Groupthink - This is the phenomenon where a group of people may make decisions that are not in their best interest due to peer pressure. This can lead to decisions that are not well thought out, or that are overly influenced by the desires of the group.
- Unquestioned Beliefs - Since group conformity relies on the acceptance of a particular set of beliefs, it can lead to a lack of critical thinking and questioning of those beliefs. This can lead to a lack of creativity and innovation, as well as an unwillingness to accept change.
- Social Pressure - Group conformity can create a sense of social pressure to conform, which can be uncomfortable and even intimidating. This can lead to people feeling like they have to go along with the group in order to fit in, which can be detrimental to their individual development and growth.
Group conformity is a concept that has received a lot of attention from researchers and scientists. In addition to Salomon Asch's conformity experiment, other approaches related to group conformity include:
- Social identity theory, which examines how individuals identify themselves and develop relationships with others based on a shared identity;
- Groupthink, which suggests that when group members are too similar to one another, they are more likely to be influenced by group pressure;
- The bystander effect, which suggests that the presence of others can decrease an individual's likelihood of helping another in need;
- The illusion of unanimity, which suggests that individuals are more likely to conform to the majority opinion when they believe that opinion is shared by everyone;
- The false-consensus effect, which suggests that individuals tend to overestimate the extent to which other people agree with their views and beliefs.
In summary, there are a variety of approaches related to group conformity that have been studied by researchers and scientists. These approaches help us to understand the dynamics of group behavior and why individuals may conform to the majority opinion.
- Asch, S. E. (1956). Studies of independence and conformity: I. A minority of one against a unanimous majority. Psychological monographs: General and applied, 70(9), 1.
- Salomon Asch @ Wikipedia.
- Asch conformity experiments @ Wikipedia.