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Defining Conformity

            Conformity-The tendency for people to adopt the behaviours, attitudes, and values of other members of a reference group. (Gerrig, Richard J. & Philip G. Zimbardo, 2002).
             It is common in society for people to want to belong and to do so they may sometimes mimic others so as not to stand out from the crowd. The allure of conformity can be rather strong and people may go against what they personally believe and put their faith in the group over themselves. This essay will discuss whether conformity is completely irresistible.
             The Autokinetic Effect- McLeod (2007).
             Sherif (1935) experimented with the aim of demonstrating that people conform to group norms when placed in an unclear or ambiguous situation. In Sherif's experiment a small spot of light projected onto a screen in a dark room will appear to move even though it is still. It was discovered when participants were tested alone in the room their answers of how far the light had moved varied greatly. When the participants were then tested in groups which had been determined by Sherif by having two of the group with similar estimates and one whose estimate was much different. It was found that now in the group setting the group came to a common answer and the estimate of the one whose answer that had greatly differed had now conformed to the view of the rest of the group. Sherif said that this proved that people tend to conform to a group agreement rather than make individual judgements. The results show that when in an ambiguous situation people have a strong likelihood of conforming and will look to others for guidance. Sherif's experiment showed conformity as near-irresistible.
             Sherif concluded in his experiment that people always tend to conform but his study was argued by Asch (1951) who claimed that the main problem with Sherif's conformity experiment was that there was no correct answer to his Autokinetic Effect experiment and because of this we couldn't be sure if people were actually conforming.

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