Conformity and Obedience Term Paper by Nicky

Conformity and Obedience
A look at what influences conformity and obedience.
# 149365 | 1,984 words | 6 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 11, 2011 in Sociology (Theory) , Psychology (Theory)

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This paper evaluates the influence of group dynamics on the individual, bringing together classical and contemporary analysis. Within the discussion as to how individuals are affected by group dynamics, the concepts of conformity and obedience are addressed. Additionally, the paper cites various scholars and research articles on this topic. In particular, the paper notes the similarities and differences between conformity and obedience. The paper also explores the concept of altruism and prosocial behavior, using the examples of volunteers who provide "direct care" services, such as comforting the victims of sexual assault. Next, the paper examines the effect of group influence on the self, using Stanley Milgrim's classic work "Obedience to Authority" as the basis for the discussion. Finally, the paper describes how individual and societal influences can lead to deviance from dominant group norms.


Compare and Contrast the Concepts of Conformity and Obedience
How does Altruism apply to the Self and to one's Behavior?
The Effect of Group Influence on the Self
A Contemporary Example of the Effect that Group Influence has on the Self
Individual and Societal Influences that Lead to Deviance from Dominant Group Norms

From the Paper:

"As to obedience, renowned researcher Stanley Milgram explains that obedience is as "basic" a part of the fabric of society "as one can point to" (Milgram, 1974). Writing in Harper's Magazine Milgram goes on to assert that obedience is "a deeply ingrained behavior tendency"; it is "a potent impulse overriding training in ethics, sympathy, and moral conduct" (Milgram, 1974). And the "dilemma inherent in submission to authority is ancient...and the question of whether one should obey when commands conflict with conscience" has been debated as far back as ancient Greece (Plato) (Milgram, 1974). Milgram explains that some degree of obedience is "a requirement" in communal living situations. There has to be some level of authority in every community, large or small - otherwise chaos would ensue (Milgram). The only individuals who do not have to respond to the commands of others, Milgram insists, are those living in "isolation." "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Blass, Thomas. (2009). From New Haven to Santa Clara: A Historical Perspective on the Milgram Obedience Experiments. American Psychologist, 64(1), 37-45.
  • Cavazza, Nicoletta, and Mucchi-faina, Angelica. (2008). Me, us, or them: who is more Conformist? Perception of conformity and political orientation. The Journal of Social Psychology, 148(3), 335-346.
  • Elms, Alan C. (2009). Obedience Lite. American Psychologist, 64(1), 32-36.
  • Hellman, Chan M., and House, Donnita. (2006). Volunteers Serving Victims of Sexual Assault. The Journal of Social Psychology, 146(1), 117-124.
  • Milgram, Stanley. (1974). Obedience to authority: an experimental view. London: Taylor & Francis Publishers.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Conformity and Obedience (2011, December 11) Retrieved September 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Conformity and Obedience" 11 December 2011. Web. 28 September. 2023. <>