Social psychology and conformity Essay
Social psychology and conformity
There are, of course, many variants in this scenario that may have an effect. The number of people in the group is a vital factor. Variants to the Asch experiment revealed that conformity is far less likely when the group is less than three. This is due to the obvious fact that a ration of 1:2 is hardly a daunting prospect in comparison to a ratio of 1:6 for example. It is easy to imagine how increasing the number of people in the group would increase the boy’s feeling that he is inadequate and odd within the crowd. Other outside influences would also play a large role in decisions made by the boy.
For instance, his parents may have warned him, or the boy may have read or heard somewhere that it is especially awful for you, or even that “it’s not that bad”. This would mean that his decision would not be solely based on his judgment of the group’s influence. Similarly, if prior commitment to a decision has been made, the likelihood of a change in decision is much lower. Also, if there was even just one fellow dissident to support the boy, his courage would be greatly increased. Another variant would be the groups own experience, or feelings towards cannabis.
If the group as a whole has never done it before, and is a bit worried about it, then the boy would be worried too. Yet if the group had done it and were very confident and relaxed about doing it again, the boy would find it much harder to refuse. Of course there are these variants explained above and more that can change the scenario quite dramatically, but what is always clear, sadly, is that single people, especially young teenagers, can be influenced into compliance very easily by others in a group. Compliance in a person suggests a low self-esteem, seeking approval, and looking to others for a sense of self worth.
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