Conformity theories
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Conformity Theories. To passively agree to something to which there are no apparent consequences Example: Gender Conformity http:// Acquiescence Effect.

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Acquiescence effect

  • To passively agree to something to which there are no apparent consequences

    • Example: Gender Conformity


Acquiescence Effect

Bystander effect

Bystander Effect

Commitment theory

  • If we make a commitment we feel bound to follow through, for fear of social rejection

  • Makes it more difficult to change our minds

  • Example: Milgram Obedience Study

    • Participants felt obligated to continue shocking the ‘students’ even though they did not want to – were told they were obligated to participate

Commitment Theory

Communication accommodation theory

  • When we talk to others, we tend to subconsciously change our style of speech (accent, rate, words etc.) towards the style used by the listener

  • To build rapport (relationship) and seek approval

    • Example – people who live in England but do not have a British accent, tend to speak with a mild accent after a period of time – and they use the slang/language that the local people use – in order to fit in

Communication Accommodation Theory


  • Group cohesion is more important than speaking up to avoid conflict

  • Occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of mental competence, reality, and moral judgment

  • Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. 

  • Example: Launch of Space Shuttle Challenger (1986)

    • Determined to have a successful launch to regain public support for their program, officials ignored engineering reports that the O-rings installed to protect the rocket motors might not be safe. The spacecraft broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members.


Impression management

Impression Management

Informational social influence

Informational Social Influence

Normative social influence

Normative Social Influence

Pluralistic ignorance

  • Assume nothing is wrong as no one seems concerned particular decisions, the more we feel obliged to follow suit

  • Adopting norms, even if you do not agree with them,

  • Part of the individual sacrifice that people accept as a price of group membership 

    • Research: Smoke filled room study


Pluralistic Ignorance

Reciprocity norm

Reciprocity Norm



Spiral of silence theory

People will be unwilling to publicly express their opinion if they believe they are in the minority

But are more vocal if they are part of the majority

Works because we fear social rejection

Spiral of Silence Theory