Conformity In Social Psychological Assignment Sample

Conformity in Social Psychology: Comprehensive Assignment Guide

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Introduction Of Conformity In Social Psychological

Definition of conformity

The primary concept of conformity refers to the changes of belief, attitude, actions along with perceptions with the aim of matching with those groups whose approval is required (Psychologytoday, 2023). In addition, it can also be stated that conformity is considered a social influence that involves the change of belief and behaviour in order to fit in a group. The primary change occurs in response to real incidents where physical presence of others is involved.

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According to “American Psychology Association (APA)”, conformity is defined as the adjustment of an individual's opinion, judgement or action or obedience in a consistent manner with the opinion, judgement and action of other people (Dictionary.apa, 2023).

While addressing the definition of conformity by Herbert Kelman, there are three conformities. The first one refers to compliance which is based on public conformity and it is motivated by the requirements for approval of the fear and obedience (Socialsci.libretext, 2023). This is followed by identification and internalisation with the aim of conforming in a public and private manner.

What do you think we conform

The primary focus while managing conformity refers to guiding interaction with others while managing social norms and maintaining formal and informal means of act of matching attitude (House et al. 2020). While conformity is considered a group phenomenon, it is effective to conform to group size along with unanimity, cohesion, status and prior commitment and public opinion.

Research studies and evaluation

Milgram shock experiment of conformity (1961)

Outlining the experiment:This is one of the famous studies in obedience in the case of psychological conformity and primarily focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience in conformity (Dolinski and Grzyb, 2020).

Conformity:This experiment sheds light on the compliance conformity by addressing the influence of others on an individual's thought, feelings and behaviour (Birney and Reicher, 2022). This study also addresses the factor of obedience while highlighting the impact of change on an individual's behaviour.

Aim:The aim of the study refers to research on understanding the steps taken by individuals while obeying an instruction even if involved harming any other person or a group of people (Dolinski and Grzyb, 2020). Besides, the primary intention of conducting this study which refers to understanding the influence by German instructors on ordinary people in terms of committing atrocities in WWII.

Figure 1: Outlining the Experiment

Outlining the Experiment

(Source: Socialsci.libretext, 2023)

Size of the group:He recruited approximately 40 males aged between 20-50 years old and has the job range from unskilled professionals in the area of New Haven. The participants were paid $4.50 for turning up during the experiment.

Unanimity:The study has revealed the population's willingness in order to obey authority figures even if they have to harm others and it can question their morality and ethical considerations.

Task difficulty:While participants were made to believe they are accountable to shock another real person instead of identifying the learner's actual identity; the task was deceptive in terms of setting the stage of revelation in the case of a certain "difficult-to-get-at-truth" context (Dolinski and Grzyb, 2020).

Ethical issues:This experiment was labelled as unethical as it violated modern ethical guidelines for research context while involving human participants. This also includes not receiving participants' informed consent, deception and protection from psychological distress (Birney and Reicher, 2022).

Findings:The result revolves around the highly influenced population who are obedient to the authority figures and are capable of harming others (Electric shock to another person).

Strengths:The study has received excellent reliability and helps the population to understand the quiescent role of authority figures to influence anyone with their willingness to harm others and labelled anything dangerous according to their perspectives.

This also includes the provision of the context of human tendency to obey commands that can be ordered by authorities and it shows the idiosyncratic traits of the individuals.

Weakness:The use of deception and lack of protection for participation while exposing them to psychological trauma.

This also violates ethical considerations in the form of not giving the right to participants to withdraw and consent form to join.


This experiment concludes that most people under pressure are ready to obey others which could be harmful for other individuals.

2. Sheriff's autokinetic effect experiment (1936)

Outlining the experiment:This experiment is based on the experiment which involved keeping the participants in a dark room while they wear force to stay at a dot of light which was never moving. Due to the illusions of autokinetic impact of shifting lights, the participants were asked to estimate the amount of light moved (Hysa et al. 2021).

Conformity:The internalisation conformity has been implied in this experiment where participants were confronted with a group norm with the aim of conforming the specific norm even if it is in an obvious incorrect position (Heim, 2020). It also addressed the development of social norms which are impactful to guide the individual's thoughts, emotions and actions.

Aim:The primary aim of this experiment refers to the demonstrations of the people's conformation to follow the group nor even when they are put in an ambiguous and unclear situation

Size of the group:The overall experiment was conducted into specific experimental conditions. While the formal individual situation of study refers to the participation of 19 subjects in terms of continuing the study, the latter revolves around group participation that consists of 40 subjects to conduct the experiment.

Unanimity:This experiment explains the conformational characteristics of an individual to follow the group steps and answers similar to the group which explains following the social norm even in an incorrect situation.

Task difficulty:While Sheriff made the primary line of judgement in group experiment in order to understand the influence on individual participants, the overall level of conformity has increased in order to follow the group answers and social norms.

Ethical issues:The participants were not given informed consent forms along with they were not protected from psychological harmful effects (Hysa et al. 2021).

Findings:While conducting numerous trials on the movement of light in a dark room, the experiment showed the convergence of group activities based on the common estimations along with the provision of a consensus agreement on the basis of the group participation while compromising the answers by the majority

Strengths:It has enormous ecological validity as it shows natural behaviour.

It also shows the role of hospitality to increase conflicts in exchange of scarce resources (for this experiment, it was prize and medals).

Weakness:The study was ethically unacceptable as it used middle class 12 years old participants.

The participants were not protected from psychological or physical harms.


This study concludes the will of individuals to look to others and follow social norms while making decisions

The Monster Study (1939)

Outlining the experiment:This experiment was conducted to understand the shuttering experience of a group of orphan children in Iowa by using electromyography devices for understanding the neuromuscular activities that lead to shuttering among individuals (Salomons et al. 2021).

Conformity:The identification conformity in this experiment refers to the short-term change in specific behaviour in a group of individuals that results in normative social influence.

Aim:The purpose of conducting this experiment today is the theory which explains the deep thought on shuttering can impact one to develop speech disorders.

Size of the group:22 young orphans participated in these experiments and they were divided into two groups. Where the first group is known as normal speakers and the second group refers to stutterers.

Unanimity:This primarily addresses the involvement of verbal reinforcement with the aim of inducing shuttering in orphan participants.

Task difficulty:This experiment was conducted to study the impact of evaluation of labelling on speech fluency on a specific group of participants and failed to prove Johnson's hypothesis of labelling shuttering as learned behaviour (Salomons et al. 2021).

Ethical issues:The children never received any informed consent and the study was not revealed in public in 60 years.

Findings:The study resulted in the presence of self-consciousness and reluctance of children in their speech instead of proving the impact of learned behaviour on speech or shuttering (Haslam, 2020).

Strengths:It focuses on the learned behaviour and its impact on shuttering.

It also provides a wide aspect of valuable lessons in regards to the experiment's impact on participants' behaviour.

Weakness:Misleading information to the participants.

The deception of the study was not revealed to the participant and that breaches the ethical considerations.


This experiment resulted in addressing the human nature of influencing others in a situation and that could lead to misleading themselves.

Summary:The overall context sheds light on the conformity in psychological studies and here, three specific studies have been discussed to showcase the three types of conformity in different situations alongside the study's weakness and strengths.


  • Birney, M. and Reicher, S., 2022. A new understanding of conformity and atrocity: Experimental data.
  • Dictionary.apa. 2023., “Definition of conformity” Available at: [Accessed on 12th May 2023]
  • Dolinski, D. and Grzyb, T., 2020. The social psychology of obedience towards authority: An empirical tribute to Stanley Milgram. Routledge.
  • Haslam, S.A., 2020. Obedience and Tyranny in Psychology and History. Social Psychology of Social Problems: The Intergroup Context, p.172.
  • Heim, A.S., 2020. Asch and AI: Conformity to Non-Human Intelligence.
  • House, B.R., Kanngiesser, P., Barrett, H.C., Broesch, T., Cebioglu, S., Crittenden, A.N., Erut, A., Lew-Levy, S., Sebastian-Enesco, C., Smith, A.M. and Yilmaz, S., 2020. Universal norm psychology leads to societal diversity in prosocial behaviour and development. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(1), pp.36-44.
  • Hysa, X., Calabrese, M., Bilotta, A. and Iandolo, F., 2021. The positive conformity experiment: judgments and decisions in cohesive groups under the pressure of positive attitudes. International Journal of Management and Decision Making, 20(1), pp.1-28.
  • Psychology-degrees. 2023., “10 Bizarre Psychology Experiments That Completely Crossed the Line” Available at: [Accessed on 12th May 2023]
  • Psychologytoday. 2023., “Definition of conformity” Available at: [Accessed on 12th May 2023]
  • Pubs.asha. 2023., “Monster study” Available at: [Accessed on 12th May 2023]
  • Salomons, N., Sebo, S.S., Qin, M. and Scassellati, B., 2021. A minority of one against a majority of robots: Robots cause normative and informational conformity. ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI), 10(2), pp.1-22.
  • Simplypsycholog. 2023., “The Milgram Shock Experiment: Summary, Results, & Ethics” Available at: [Accessed on 12th May 2023]
  • Socialsci.libretext. 2023., “social psychology” Available at:'s_Studies_On_Obedience_To_Authority [Accessed on 12th May 2023]
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