Conformity - Social Responses

Social Responses

According to Donelson Forsyth, after submitting to group pressures, individuals may find themselves facing one of several responses to conformity. These types of responses to conformity vary in their degree of public agreement versus private agreement.

First, when an individual finds themselves in a position where they publicly agree with the groups’ decision yet privately disagree with the groups’ consensus they are experiencing compliance or acquiescence. In turn, conversion, otherwise known as private acceptance, involves both publicly and privately agreeing with the groups’ decision. Thus, this represents a true change of opinion to match the majority.

Another type of social response, which does not involve conformity with the majority of the group, is called convergence. In this type of social response the group member agreed with the groups’ decision from the outset and thus does not need to shift their opinion on the matter at hand.

In addition, Forsyth shows that nonconformity can also fall into one of two response categories. First, an individual who does not conform to the majority can display independence. Independence, or dissent, can be defined as the unwillingness to bend to group pressures. Thus, this individual stays true to his or her personal standards instead of the swaying toward group standards. Also, a nonconformist could be displaying anticonformity or counterconformity which involves the taking of opinions that are opposite to what the group believes. This type of nonconformity can be motivated by a need to rebel against the status quo instead of the need to be accurate in one’s opinion.

To conclude, social responses to conformity can be seen to vary along a continuum from conversion to anticonformity. For example, a popular experiment in conformity research, known as the Asch situation or Asch conformity experiments, primarily includes compliance and independence. Also, other responses to conformity can be identified in groups such as juries, sports teams and work teams for instance.

Read more about this topic:  Conformity

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