Conformity, Enforcement, and Obedience

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Psychology ・APA ・4 Sources

Conformity, compliance as well as obedience. Obedience is a behavioral improvement due to a direct order from those in control. It is typically initiated directly by officials because directives are generally based on overt actions, hence an active form of control. By agreeing with the demands they make, people are more likely to respond to those in control. If enforcement is not imminent or because of their dictatorial existence, this may be due to fear of reprisals (Milgram, 1963). Compliance is when a person, in response to implied or explicit demands, suggestions or wishes made by another person, changes his or her actions. Likewise, it is conceptualized as an external form of social influence, i.e., it concentrates on adjustment in overt behavior. Even though compliance might at times happen due to changes in feelings and internal beliefs of people, those internal changes are neither fundamentally needed so that the request be successful, nor are they the main objective of compliance (Benjamin et al, 2009).

Conformity is if a person adjusts his or her beliefs, feelings, attitudes as well as behaviors to be consistent and fit with the social norms of a group. It is considered as a passive influence since the group fellows do not actively attempt to sway other individuals. Persons simply study the group members’ actions then change their opinions as well as behaviors because of that (Asch, 1955).

How the article by Asch relate to an earlier reading of self-justification

Self-justification is whenever an individual faces cognitive dissonance, or a condition where a person's behavior lack consistency with his or her beliefs, thus the individual is likely to justify the behavior, also reject all negative feedbacks related to the conduct. Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that takes place when a person has two cognitions that psychologically lack consistency. According to Asch article, a group process occurs when several persons agree, this is because group pressure can shape opinion. The Asch article demonstrates that group majority can influence an individual’s judgment. Asch research indicates that one of the aspects that make an individual yield to group pressure is the size of the majority: A person is most likely to conform if the number of persons in the majority is large (Asch, 1955).

Application of the readings from Haney and colleagues as well as Milgram articles to recent incidents.

A psychologist, Stanley Milgram carried out experimentation concentrating 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 when it includes hurting other people. The concern of Stanley Milgram was on how effortlessly ordinary persons can be swayed into committing atrocities. Today, regular individuals tend to obey instructions granted by the authority, also to the point of murdering people who are innocent. Obedience to authorities is entrenched in us all from the manner in which we are raised. People tend to obey orders from others in the condition that they realize their authority is legally based or morally right. This reaction to an authority which is legitimate is acquired in various circumstances, for instance in the workplace, school as well as in the family (Haney et al.,1973).

The prison experiment was conducted to observe the behavioral patterns that erupted during a simulated prison. Shows how the environment impacts peoples functions as individuals or groups. The variance in behavior noticed could be reliably attributed to situational rather than personality. The pathological situation can retort and rechannel the behavior of quite healthy individuals.


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.

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