The Psychology of Conformity and Obedience Term Paper by Nicky

The Psychology of Conformity and Obedience
A discussion on the psychology behind the social issues of conformity and obedience.
# 148879 | 1,061 words | 2 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 12, 2011 in Psychology (Social)

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The paper looks at several landmark psychological experiments and national events that have illustrated the negative potential of social conformity and obedience, including Solomon Asch's experiments, the Stanford prison experiment and how members of the American Armed Forces stationed at the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Iraq engaged in systematic abuse and torture of prisoners of war. The paper also discusses how advertising is most often designed to stimulate conformity through informational influence and finally, examines the individual and societal influences leading to deviance from group norms.

Conformity and Obedience
Classical Study of Group Influence on the Individual
Contemporary Example of Group Influence on the Individual
Individual and Societal Influences Leading to Deviance from Group Norms

From the Paper:

"In the early 1950s, psychologist Solomon Asch (1907-1996) demonstrated the power of group influence and the susceptibility of the individual to blind conformity. Asch's experiments involved subjects within groups of confederates all of whom agreed unanimously on an obviously wrong answer, such as the comparative lengths of two lines depicted in a drawing. Those experiments revealed that many subjects will change their answer and support the group's consensus instead of maintaining their original position without being influenced by the group (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008).
"It is thought that various factors determine whether or not (or to what degree) different people are susceptible to group influence. Generally, the size of the group, its degree of unanimity, its relative social status, and variation in aspects of individual psychology in the realm of self-esteem and confidence all contribute to the power of the group to influence the individual in specific cases (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008).
"In 1970, psychologist Phillip Zimbardo conducted the (now) famous Stanford Prison Experiment in which psychology study volunteers were randomly assigned to be prisoners or prison guards in a simulated prison facility created for the experiment. Without any direction from Zimbardo, the guard group followed the lead of the most dominant individuals and the individual guards became so abusive to their fellow classmates playing the roles of prisoners that Zimbardo had to stop the experiment barely halfway through its scheduled two-week run."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gerrig, R.J. and Zimbardo, P.G. (2008). Psychology and Life. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Zimbardo, P. "Power Turns Good Soldiers into "Bad Apples" New York Times, May 9, 2004.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Psychology of Conformity and Obedience (2011, November 12) Retrieved October 03, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Psychology of Conformity and Obedience" 12 November 2011. Web. 03 October. 2023. <>