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Social Norms

Social Norms

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Social Norms

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  1. Social Norms Discuss Factors Influencing Conformity Alli Cales, Brianna Hoskins, David Rivera

  2. Command word: Discuss • Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.

  3. Outcomes: • Gain an understanding of the factors that influence conformity. • Review current evidence-based literature that explains and supports human conformity to social norms. • Participate in an open discussion of personal experiences with conformity.

  4. Social norm: The rules for how people should act in a given group or society. Conformity: Tendency to adjust one’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior in ways that agree with another’s. Culture: Culture consists of the beliefs, behaviors, objects, and other characteristics common to the members of a particular group or society, including such aspects as language, customs, values, norms, mores, rules, tools, technologies, products, organizations, and institutions. Risky shift: The tendency of people to make decisions that are more extreme when they are in a group, as opposed to a decision made alone or independently (the group shares the risk of deciding the wrong choice/answer). Minority influence:Converting the majority to adapt the thinking of the minority group; involves a personal shift in private opinion. Group cohesiveness: The strength of the liking and commitment group members have toward each other and to the group. Review of basic definitions:

  5. Review of basic definitions continued: • Groupthink: a) “A deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures" (Janis, 1972). b) The tendency for a close-knit group to emphasize consensus at the expense of critical thinking and rational decision-making. Example: You and your best friends come up with the idea to go sky diving and decide as a consensus to just do it, rather than go through the breakdown of all of the dangerous possibilities.

  6. Conformity: What does it mean? • The tendency to adjust one's thoughts, feelings, or behavior in ways that agree with those of a particular individual or group. • Adjust to accepted standards about how a person should behave in specific situations, which is called social norm. Source:

  7. Group size: Asch (1995) found that conformity increased with size of group but only to a point; in a very large group, the level of conformity was decreased. Unanimity: everyone in the group agrees about something or all vote for the same thing. Confidence: you feel sure about your abilities, qualities, or ideas. Self esteem: the opinion you have of yourself and your value as a person. These four factors can increase or decrease conformity rates, and can make people respond negatively or positively. Conformity can be changed and influenced by four (4) factors:

  8. Evidence-based research: • Soloman Asch studied conformity in 1951 – Concluded that people conform because they want to fit in with the group (normative influence) or because they believe the group is better informed than they are (informational influence). • Interesting point: Conformity was the social norm in the 1950’s, individuality becoming more popular in the 1960’s.

  9. Evidence-based research continues: • Perrin & Spencer (1981) replicated Asch’s study but with very different results; they concluded that the differences were probably influenced by changed in American culture. For example, universities were encouraging students to question the status quo and pursue reasoned individuality. • Bond & Smith (1996) performed a meta-analysis of multiple conformity studies, finding that in general there has been insufficient investigation of the relevance of cultural conditions on the conformity process. • Interesting point: Recent studies of university students conducted in Britain, Holland, and in Portugal found high levels of conformity comparable to Asch.

  10. Sources • Bond, R. & Smith, P. (1996). Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s line judgment task. Psychological Bulletin, 119(1), 111-137. • Janis, I. L. (1972). Victims of groupthink: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. • Mcleod, S. A. (2008). Simply Psychology. Retrieved 7 February 2012, from • •