Conformity, Compliance & Obedience

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Obedience is a behavioral change attributed to a direct order from those in control. It is explicitly initiated by the authority and the emphasis of orders is on transparent conduct; an active means of influence, therefore. In addition, by agreeing with the demands they make, individuals are more likely to respond to those in charge. If enforcement is not immediate or due to their dictatorial existence, this could arise from fear of reprisals (Milgram, 1963).
Compliance is when, in response to tacit or overt demands, recommendations as well as desires made by others, one changes their actions. It is equally conceptualized as an external form of social effect. Thus, compliance concentrates on adjustment in overt behavior. Even though at times it might occur due to a change in feelings and internal beliefs of people, neither is fundamentally needed to succeed nor are they the main objective of compliance (Benjamin et al, 2009).
Conformity is when a person adjusts their beliefs, feelings, attitudes, or behaviors to be consistent and fit with the social norms of a group. More so, it is considered as a passive influence since the group fellows do not actively attempt to sway others. One may study the group members’ actions and change their own opinions and behaviors accordingly (Asch, 1955).
How the Article by Asch Relates to an Earlier Reading of Self-Justification?
Self-justification is whenever a person faces cognitive dissonance or a condition where one's behavior lacks consistency with their beliefs. Hence, the individual is likely to justify the behavior as well as reject all negative feedbacks related to the conduct. Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension which takes place when a person has two cognitions that lack consistency psychologically. Furthermore, according to Asch, a group process occurs when several persons agree; hence, group pressure shapes opinion. Next, the article demonstrates that group majority can influence an individual’s judgment. Moreover, the research carried out by Ash indicates that one of the aspects which make an individual yield to group pressure is the size of the majority (Asch, 1955).
Application of the Readings to Recent Incidents
Stanley Milgram, a psychologist, carried out an experimentation focused on the conflict between personal conscience and authority obedience. The interest of Milgram was to study the extent to which a person can go in obeying instructions which include hurting other people. The concern of Stanley Milgram was on how effortlessly ordinary people can be swayed into committing atrocities. Quite often regular individuals tend to obey instructions granted by their authority even to the point of murder. Hence, obedience to authorities is entrenched in people all from the manner in which they are raised. For instance, children tend to obey orders from others in the condition when they realize their authority is legally based or morally right. This reaction to a legitimate authority is acquired in various circumstances, such as one's workplace, school as well as family (Haney et al., 1973).
More so, the prison experiment was conducted to observe the behavioral patterns which erupted during a simulated prison. It was meant to show how the environment impacts humans' functions as individuals or groups. The variance in behavior noticed could be reliably attributed to situational rather than personal. Furthermore, the pathological situation can retort and rechannel the behavior of quite healthy individuals.

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Asch, S.E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, 193, 31-35.
Benjamin Jr, L.T. & Simpson, J.A. (2009). The power of the situation: The impact of Milgram’s obedience studies on personality and social psychology. American Psychologist, 64(1), 12.
Haney, C., Banks, C. & Zimbardo, P. (1973). Interpersonal dynamics in a simulated prison. International Journal of Criminology and Penology, 1, 69-97.
Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371.

August 31, 2021

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