{br} STUCK with your assignment? {br} When is it due? {br} Get FREE assistance. Page Title: {title}{br} Page URL: {url}
UK: +44 748 007-0908, USA: +1 917 810-5386 [email protected]
  1. QUESTION

     

    Why do the majority of people tend to conform and be obedient?
    Societies we live in have the ability to influence our behaviour. We often change the way we think and act as a direct consequence of the interaction with a person or a group of people in our immediate environment. Social influence can either be intentional or unintentional (Tedeschi2017, p.11). Social influence plays a vital role in conformity and obedience. According to Burger (2018, p.241), conformity refers to the tendency of individuals in the society to adopt similar attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour of other members of their immediate society in which they are trying to fit in. We conform because of our concern about what other people think about us. This desire to fit in is often demonstrated using Solomon Asch perceptual lines experiment. Secondly, we also conform due to lack of information on how one is supposed to behave or act in a certain environment. On the other hand, obedience refers to behaviour that is influenced by a person in authority; for instance, acting in a certain way to obey orders issued by a figure in authority. Experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram and Zimbardo vividly described the effect obedience has on a person’s behaviour.
    Conformity
    Human beings have an innate habit to mimic and imitate what other people do in their immediate environment. Most people often without intending mimic the actions of others in society. The actions imitated can be subtle ones such as gestures to more serious ones such as decisions we make. According to Tedeschi (2017, p.11), though shocking, this behaviour is vital for human interaction since it smoothens all our societal interactions. However apart from the inborn tendency to imitate others in society, we also do it for two major reasons. First, is the influence other people have on us. This influence called the normative influence makes us make decisions to be in line with what the others have done. It is driven by the desire to fit in and not fall out of place. This behaviour is motivated by the desire to avoid receiving criticisms for being different. Additionally, the behaviour gives a feeling of camaraderie for the person.
    To determine the ability of normative influence to impact someone’s behaviour, Solomon Asch in 1956 conducted perceptual lines experiment, in this experiment, the researcher standing at a distance showed the participants two flash cards one on the right and the other on the left hand. The participants were required to name a line on the right card that had the same length as the one of the left card. In the room, there were other six people who said their answers aloud for the student to hear before the student gave out his answer. In the first three flashcards, the group shouted the correct answer and the student also corroborated the answer. However, in the fourth card, the group chose a wrong answer and surpassingly, the student also gave the same answer. This repeated itself several times. In fact, two-thirds of the participants were influenced and gave out wrong responses highlighting the power of normative influence on a person’s behaviour. The students did not want to be the odd one out in the room. Therefore, despite their eyes telling them one thing, they heard a different answer from the group and decided to go with it. I have also on several occasions been a victim of normative influence. This mostly happens during group work. After most of the group members have agreed on something, I conform and adopt the decision even though I know it is wrong.
    Secondly, individuals also conform due to descriptive norm. This mostly happens when we are in new situations where we have limited information of what the society expects from us. In such situations, we imitate the behaviour of the next available person we can see. However, finding the right information to mimic can often be a problem using this form of conformity. Binge drinking in school is a direct result of descriptive conformity (Tedeschi2017, p.13). Since they are no set guidelines on the level of drinking, students, therefore, emulate any person’s level of drinking assuming it is the expected level for a college student resulting in an excessive drinking problem. Personally, descriptive norm affects my behaviour whenever I visit new environments. One time, I visited a Chinese restaurant and did not know their food etiquette. I resorted to imitating a Chinese man sited across the table only to realize he was also doing it the wrong way after I saw people staring at me. I conformed because I lacked information about the environment.
    Obedience
    Conforming to the behaviour observed in the environment is a voluntary process. On the other hand, obedience gives a person no option but to behave in a certain way. An influential figure issues the instructions, and the subordinates are left with little choice but to obey and execute the instruction. For most parts, obedience is a good thing in the society, and people are trained from a young age to be respectful and obedient especially to people in authority. However, it also has a dark side to it (Haslam and Reicher 2017.p.60). After several years of being required to be obedient, many people have in the past broken the law and conducted atrocities in the name of obeying instructions given by a superior person.
    The electric shock experiment conducted by Milgram in 1963, 1964 and 1974 highlighted how human beings are socialized to obey instructions. In this experiment, three participants believing to be taking part in learning and memory experiment had one participant, a teacher who administered an electric shock to another participant, a student, at any time the student gave a wrong answer. The buttons for the shock varied in intensity from low to dangerous. It was surprising how the teacher continued to administer the shock increasing the level each time the student gave a wrong response (Russell 2018, p.36). This happened despite the obvious danger of electric shock to one’s life. This experiment proved the dark side of obedience; human beings obey instructions as long as they have been issued by a senior person without questioning even if the instructions harm other people. In the experiment, 65% of normal family men continued administering the shock to the highest level. This experiment explained the killing of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Good family men simply obeying instructions executed the worst massacre the world has ever seen.
    Personally, I have also been a victim of obedience in society. As a child, my parent would delegate the task of disciplining my younger siblings. Wherever they made mistakes, I would be instructed to discipline them. This involved administering pain through acts such as canning the child. I administered the punishment not because I liked hitting my siblings but because I was following the instructions of an adult who was a figure of authority in my life. Blind obedience is, therefore, a vice in the society.
    Zimbardo’s 1973 Stanford prison simulation also corroborated the results attained by Milgram. However, his study dehumanized the subjects to determine the effects of brainwashing in obedience (Haslam, Reicher and Birney2016, p.7). Subjects that were dehumanized received twice the level of shocks as compared to the other subjects who were individualized in the study. This study introduced another variable to obedience. Those participants were brainwashed about the subjects they were administering the shocks to. This increased their intensity of administering the shocks. This adds another perspective to the Holocaust. The Germans were brainwashed about the Jews. This, therefore, affected their perception about Jews. The propaganda they were feed dehumanized Jews increasing their level of hate and therefore resulted in the excess killing. Obedience alone could not have resulted in the scale of death witnessed. However, since it was coupled with brainwashing, the soldiers did not only think they were following orders, they also thought they were helping the society.
    CONCLUSION
    In conclusion, conformity and obedience play an integral role in highlighting the social effect on our behaviour in society. Conformity is voluntary and comes from the desire to fit in and receiving compliments. On the other hand, obedience is not optional and is fuelled by years of societal socialization about the benefits of obeying those in authority. Even though both conformity and obedience affects a person’s behaviour, obedience has adverse effects on the behaviour of a person.

     

     

     

 

Subject Essay Writing Pages 9 Style APA

Answer

Why Do The Majority Of People Tend To Conform And Be Obedient?

Essay Overview

  1. The essay tittle is significant in determining the nature of content to be used as it contains all the aspects of the question being investigated. As a question tittle, it eases the process of determining research variables. As such, it defines the scope of the study.

1.1. The question requires the researcher to validate its assertion first. For instance, do people conform and obey or not? After that, it calls for determination of reasons why people conform and obey as well as explaining why they do so.

1.2. Main points: Social influence plays a vital role in conformity and obedience, we conform because of our concern about what other people think about us, people also conform due to lack of information on how one is supposed to behave or act in a certain environment. 

 

On the other hand, obedience refers to behavior that is influenced by a person in authority.

1.3 Independent research for answering the question is mainly made up of scholarly sources that have been peer reviewed. They include Tedeschi (2017); Burger (2018); Haslam and Reicher (2017), Haslam, Reicher, and Birney (2016); and Russell (2018).

2.1 Introduction

Societies we live in have the ability to influence our behavior. We often change the way we think and act as a direct consequence of the interaction with a person or a group of people in our immediate environment. Social influence can either be intentional or unintentional (Tedeschi2017, p.11). Social influence plays a vital role in conformity and obedience. According to Burger (2018, p.241), conformity refers to the tendency of individuals in the society to adopt similar attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of other members of their immediate society in which they are trying to fit in. We conform because of our concern about what other people think about us. This desire to fit in is often demonstrated using Solomon Asch perceptual lines experiment. Secondly, we also conform due to lack of information on how one is supposed to behave or act in a certain environment. On the other hand, obedience refers to behavior that is influenced by a person in authority; for instance, acting in a certain way to obey orders issued by a figure in authority.

2.2 Evidence and Examples Why People Conform And Obey

Experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram and Zimbardo vividly described the effect obedience has on a person’s behavior. On the other hand, Solomon Asch in 1956 conducted perceptual lines experiment that described why people conform.

2.3 Specific Reasons Why People Conform and Obey

Conformity

Human beings have an innate habit to mimic and imitate what other people do in their immediate environment. Most people often without intending mimic the actions of others in society. The actions imitated can be subtle ones such as gestures to more serious ones such as decisions we make. According to Tedeschi (2017, p.11), though shocking, this behavior is vital for human interaction since it smoothens all our societal interactions. However apart from the inborn tendency to imitate others in society, we also do it for two major reasons. First, is the influence other people have on us. This influence called the normative influence makes us make decisions to be in line with what the others have done. It is driven by the desire to fit in and not fall out of place. This behavior is motivated by the desire to avoid receiving criticisms for being different. Additionally, the behavior gives a feeling of camaraderie for the person.

To determine the ability of normative influence to impact someone’s behavior, Solomon Asch in 1956 conducted perceptual lines experiment, in this experiment, the researcher standing at a distance showed the participants two flash cards one on the right and the other on the left hand. The participants were required to name a line on the right card that had the same length as the one of the left card. In the room, other six people said their answers aloud for the student to hear before the student gave out his answer. In the first three flashcards, the group shouted the correct answer and the student also corroborated the answer. However, in the fourth card, the group chose a wrong answer and surpassingly, the student gave the same answer. This repeated itself several times. In fact, two-thirds of the participants were influenced and gave out wrong responses highlighting the power of normative influence on a person’s behavior. The students did not want to be the odd one out in the room. Therefore, despite their eyes telling them one thing, they heard a different answer from the group and decided to go with it. I have also on several occasions been a victim of normative influence. This mostly happens during group work. After most of the group, members have agreed on something, I conform and adopt the decision even though I know it is wrong. 

Secondly, individuals also conform due to descriptive norm. This mostly happens when we are in new situations where we have limited information of what the society expects from us. In such situations, we imitate the behavior of the next available person we can see. However, finding the right information to mimic can often be a problem using this form of conformity. Binge drinking in school is a direct result of descriptive conformity (Tedeschi2017, p.13). Since they are no set guidelines on the level of drinking, students, therefore, emulate any person’s level of drinking assuming it is the expected level for a college student resulting in an excessive drinking problem. Personally, descriptive norm affects my behavior whenever I visit new environments. One time, I visited a Chinese restaurant and did not know their food etiquette. I resorted to imitating a Chinese man sited across the table only to realize he was also doing it the wrong way after I saw people staring at me. I conformed because I lacked information about the environment.

Obedience

Conforming to the behavior observed in the environment is a voluntary process. On the other hand, obedience gives a person no option but to behave in a certain way. An influential figure issues the instructions, and the subordinates are left with little choice but to obey and execute the instruction. For most parts, obedience is a good thing in the society, and people are trained from a young age to be respectful and obedient especially to people in authority. However, it also has a dark side to it (Haslam and Reicher 2017.p.60). After several years of being required to be obedient, many people have in the past broken the law and conducted atrocities in the name of obeying instructions given by a superior person.

The electric shock experiment conducted by Milgram in 1963, 1964 and 1974 highlighted how human beings are socialized to obey instructions. In this experiment, three participants believing to be taking part in learning and memory experiment had one participant, a teacher who administered an electric shock to another participant, a student, at any time the student gave a wrong answer. The buttons for the shock varied in intensity from low to dangerous. It was surprising how the teacher continued to administer the shock increasing the level each time the student gave a wrong response (Russell 2018, p.36). This happened despite the obvious danger of electric shock to one’s life. This experiment proved the dark side of obedience; human beings obey instructions as long as they have been issued by a senior person without questioning even if the instructions harm other people. In the experiment, 65% of normal family men continued administering the shock to the highest level. This experiment explained the killing of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Good family men simply obeying instructions executed the worst massacre the world has ever seen.

Personally, I have also been a victim of obedience in society. As a child, my parent would delegate the task of disciplining my younger siblings. Wherever they made mistakes, I would be instructed to discipline them. This involved administering pain through acts such as canning the child. I administered the punishment not because I liked hitting my siblings but because I was following the instructions of an adult who was a figure of authority in my life. Blind obedience is, therefore, a vice in the society.

Zimbardo’s 1973 Stanford prison simulation also corroborated the results attained by Milgram. However, his study dehumanized the subjects to determine the effects of brainwashing in obedience (Haslam, Reicher, and Birney2016, p.7). Subjects that were dehumanized received twice the level of shocks as compared to the other subjects who were individualized in the study. This study introduced another variable to obedience. Those participants were brainwashed about the subjects they were administering the shocks to. This increased their intensity of administering the shocks. This adds another perspective to the Holocaust. The Germans were brainwashed about the Jews. This, therefore, affected their perception about Jews. The propaganda they were feed dehumanized Jews increasing their level of hate and therefore resulted in the excess killing. Obedience alone could not have resulted in the scale of death witnessed. However, since it was coupled with brainwashing, the soldiers did not only think they were following orders, they also thought they were helping the society.

2.4 Conclusion

In conclusion, conformity and obedience play an integral role in highlighting the social effect on our behavior in society. Conformity is voluntary and comes from the desire to fit in and receiving compliments. On the other hand, obedience is not optional and is fuelled by years of societal socialization about the benefits of obeying those in authority. Even though both conformity and obedience affects a person’s behavior, obedience has adverse effects on the behavior of a person.

WORDS COUNT: 2162

 

 

 

References

Burger, J.M., 2018. Conformity and Obedience. General Psychology FA18, p.241.

Haslam, S.A. and Reicher, S.D., 2017. 50 years of “obedience to authority”: From blind conformity to engaged followership. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 13, pp.59-78.

Haslam, S.A., Reicher, S.D., and Birney, M.E., 2016. Questioning authority: new perspectives on ‘obedience ‘research and its implications for intergroup relations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, pp.6-9.

Russell, N., 2018. The Origins and Evolution of Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Experiments. In Understanding Willing Participants, Volume 1 (pp. 37-54). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Tedeschi, J.T., 2017. The social influence processes. Routledge.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Samples

WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
👋 Hi, how can I help?