An experiment conducted by Sherif identified the need and the tendency of people to conform when present in a group and faced to similar stimuli and circumstances. “Subjects were invited to estimate the amount of ‘movement’ they observed. They made their estimates in groups where each member could hear the others’ estimates. Ultimately, the group members’ estimates converged on a middle-of-the-road ‘group estimate’. This would appear to show an urge to conform.” (‘Social Influence – Conformity’) This experiment by Sherif depicted characteristics of the autokinetic effect whereby the results and actions seemed random while in fact they were responses to specific stimuli.
The actions and behavior of a person as well as the level or the degree of conformity is largely based on the influences that are affecting the individuals. The influence that is present on the individual pertaining to the company he or she hangs out with and the information that he attains from the behavior of the people around him pertains to the informational social influence. On the other hand the normative social influence is the kind of influence that motivates the individuals to be more like their peers and be accepted by them. In both cases conformity to different social roles take place in order to achieve the desired result by the individual.
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