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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:35

Conformity and groupthink

Video transcript

so social psychology is the study of how individuals think feel and behave in social interactions you probably know intuitively that when individuals are in groups they may act very differently than when they're alone and if you ever wondered why let's talk about some group processes and some of the ways that people change their behavior when in social situations so the first group process that we'll review today is conformity so conformity now this won't be the first time you've heard about conformity probably just known it by another name peer pressure and conformity is a tendency for people to bring their behavior in line with group norms and it's a powerful in social situations we use social situations especially ones with peers to determine what's acceptable to question standards and authorities and get feedback on behaviors so it is important especially for younger folks to have positive peers because if the group's behavior is positive then it can lead to peace harmony and happiness but if the group's behavior is negative it can be cast Rafat so when behaviors are negative or wrong why do people still conform to group norms so imagine you're part of a group and the group's been asked to train a dog so the group training the dog decides to train it with a shock collar and you decide to agree now according to social psychologists there are two main influences that explain why you would conform with the group so first let's pretend that you've never interacted with a dog before and you're uncertain about your method of training a dog and whether would be correct or not to use a shock collar so in that case you may look to the group for guidance in this instance you assume that the group is correct and so you just go along with their opinion and whatever else they suggest and this is known as informative influence now let's pretend that you're an expert dog trainer and you know that it's easier to train a dog with treats rather than using a shock collar so even though you know the group's method of using a shot-caller is incorrect you might still decide to go along with the group in order to avoid being a social outcast and in this instance you're conforming because of a normative influence so in that case you fear the social rejection that can come with dissenting from a group and so you decide to conform instead of rocking the boat in addition there are two different ways in which a person can conform publicly or privately if you privately conform to a groups belief if you change your behaviors and opinions to align with a group if you've publicly conformed you're temporarily or superficially changing so outwardly you agree with the group but on the inside you actually maintain your own core beliefs so thinking back to our example if you privately conformed to use a shot-caller you would leave the group situation with a genuine belief that the best way to train a dog is with a shot-caller in other words you could say you're convinced on the other hand if you publicly conformed then you would agree to the shot-caller while in the group situation but you would also know that the treats are the more effective route and when you're alone or out of the group situation you would continue the trained dogs with the treats so you could say that you weren't convinced now let's talk a little bit more about group processes problem solving decision making often take place in groups factors that influence individuals problem-solving and decision-making continue to operate when individuals in a group but group interactions also shape the outcome so group polarization is phenomenon in which group decision-making enhances or amplifies the original opinions of group members and for this to happen several factors must be present first all the views do not have equal influence so for a viewpoint to influence a group's final decision it's shared by the majority of individuals in the group secondly in discussions about the topic arguments made tend to favor the majority or popular view and any criticism is directed towards the minority view and this is called confirmation bias the group members seek out and reinforce information that supports the majority view in this sort of atmosphere the initial attitude or viewpoint is amplified by the group discussion and sometimes a stronger version of the decision can be adopted so going back to our dog training example imagine that a group of individuals meet to discuss training a dog the majority of the group agrees that training the dog with treats is the best way to go about it most of the discussions of all the benefits of training with positive reinforcement and some group members very angrily chastise the advocates for the shot-caller the individuals leave the group discussion feeling more confident than ever that train their dogs with treats as the way to go so their view of training dogs with treats has been amplified from that discussion the last group process we'll talk about is groupthink and this occurs when maintaining harmony among group members is more important than carefully analyzing the problem at hand and happens most often in very cohesive groups that are insulated from other people's opinions and feel that they are invulnerable so groups acceptable a groupthink often have a very powerful respected or important leaders and in the interest of group unity members censor their opinions and they may do so by their suppressing personal doubts or they may be actively and openly pressured into conforming to the majority view and in this situation the first suggestion proposed by a leader is usually adopted especially if there's a little hope of finding a better solution as you might imagine this is not the most effective or successful way to make a decision and it explains a lot of what's wrong with Congress in the United States now by using our dog training example again imagine that a group of individuals live in the same close-knit suburban neighborhood they decide to meet to discuss a dog that's been exhibiting some bad behavior so the leader of the neighborhood says that they think the dog be put down to avoid further damage to the neighborhood rather than argue with a leader and have a conflict the neighbors agree that the dog should be put down instead of considering any other options to train the dog or some other sort of solution and if the neighbors had wanted to avoid groupthink they might have brought in experts or outsiders or held smaller groups separately to discuss the dog or had the leader from the group refrain from disclosing their opinion so to review conformity groupthink and group polarization are all processes that can occur when individuals come together in a group they're not always positive but can be if the group is positive open-minded and willing to consider more than one opinion in the next video I'll talk more about groups and social behaviors