Compliance and Conformity - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Sociology

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 14 pages of information about Compliance and Conformity.
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Classic Experiments

The social scientific investigation of conformity began with the pioneering experiments of Muzafer Sherif (1936). They beautifully illustrate the easy, almost unconscious way people in groups influence one another to become similar. Sherif made use of the autokinetic effect, which is a visual illusion that makes a stationary pinpoint of light in a dark room appear to move. Sherif asked subjects in his experiments to estimate how far the light moved.

When individuals estimated the light alone, their estimates were often quite divergent. In one condition of the experiment, however, subjects viewed the light with two or three others, giving their estimates out loud, allowing them to hear each other's judgments. In this group setting, individuals gave initial estimates that were similar to one another and rapidly converged on a single group estimate. Different groups settled on very different estimates but all groups developed a consensus...

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This section contains 3,936 words
(approx. 14 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Compliance and Conformity Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Sociology
Compliance and Conformity from Encyclopedia of Sociology. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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