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    Effect of group influence on the self: conformity and obedience

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    Prepare a 1,750- to 2,100-word paper in which you evaluate the effect of group influence on the self using classical and contemporary literature. Address the following in your paper:
    Compare and contrast the concepts of conformity and obedience.
    Analyze a classical study concerning the effect of group influence on the self.
    Analyze a contemporary example of the effect that group influence has on the self.
    Analyze individual and societal influences that lead to deviance from dominant group norms.
    Format according to APA standards.

    Please use only Peer reviewed references. Please paraphrase all references cited. No direct Quotes.This should be approached from a Social Psychology perspective.

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    https://brainmass.com/psychology/social-psychology/effect-group-influence-self-conformity-obedience-611135

    Solution Preview

    TItle: The effect of group influence on the self: conformity and obedience

    Keywords: Social psychology, conformity, group dynamics, group psychology, obedience, persuasion, minority, social isolation, peer pressure, social pressure, discrimination, social exclusion

    Abstract: This work considers conformity and obedience and their influence on individuals. Numerous examples of conformity are discussed, including classical cases and examples from recent experimental studies. Relevant theories are discussed.

    I. CONFORMITY AND OBEDIENCE

    Being social in nature, humans have a tendency to form groups which then influence their individuality and individual preferences. The extent of this influence which can also be described as social pressure and social norms, depends on many factors such as size of the group, their connection with (or opposition to) the environment, and the way the group is being structured. On the other hand, individuals forming the group affect group formation and its functioning. Clearly, the relationship between a group and an individual is very complex, not only being bilateral in nature, but also interacting with the environment thus not being a closed system on its own.

    Norms serve a function of group preservation (they protect the group itself from falling apart),as well as such of conflict mediation. Conformity, in its turn, is following the group norms by group members, which is usually done by individuals for the sake of belongingness thus seeking group acceptance. Thus conformity can be described as an individual behavior adapting, or matching, to that of the chosen group. Conformity includes adapting one's behavioral habits, beliefs system, attitudes, preferences and expression of emotions in order to become an integral part of the environment. By adapting, one is choosing group identity over one's own, which comes with pressure and authority. On the group level, conformity aims at order and predictability in within-group interactions. Furthermore, role assignment and expectation within groups have a significant impact on individual behavioral patterns as well as personal beliefs (Zimbardo, 1992).

    Obedience, on the other hand, refers to following somebody's orders or fulfilling somebody else's expectations in order to avoid punishment. This order is coming from a figure of authority, which is not subtle or presumed as is the case with compliance, but rather direct and explicit. Obedience serves a system such as society in order to maintain order, for instance with regards to law, religion or social norms. This way, obedience is used as a power mechanism imposed over group members in order to gain or maintain control over group members and order within the group.

    Theoretically, when conformity is mostly driven by the desire to belong, obedience is pursued out of fear to have negative consequences such as punishment. In reality, however, the both notions are highly interconnected since seeking acceptance may also be done out of fear of authority. The importance of judgement is yet another issue, as Kretch et al. (1962) showed in their experiment where Berkley university students conformed to group pressure and agreed that free speech is a privilege which can be suspended if society feels threatened. This study demonstrated that individual opinions can be easily manipulated, to even refuse own basic human rights.

    Both conformity and obedience are used as mechanisms of persuasion, the former more appealing to prospects of being accepted and rewarded when complying to certain norms, the later using punishment in order to achieve the goal. Social conformity also serves survival as without social support one leads a lonely life in social isolation, and the way out is appealing to some social group by accepting its values and being accepted as a group member thus receiving social support.

    II. ANALYSIS OF A CLASSICAL CONFORMITY STUDY: THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT

    In Zimbardo's so called ...

    Solution Summary

    This work considers conformity and obedience and their influence on individuals. Numerous examples of conformity are discussed, including classical cases and examples from recent experimental studies. Relevant theories are discussed.

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