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Social Personal information Theory and Conformity

Apply Social Personality Theory to 1 contemporary topic in Social Psychology.

"Self Personality is inextricably destined up with the identification of the environment" Svendsen, A Idea of Boredom.

There has been significant effects within the field of Public Psychology from conformity, because it has brought huge understanding of group pressure.

The term 'Conformity' is often defined as: An action that is the succumbing of the person towards a group of people', therefore conformity is often discussed as a result of group pressure, founded from the sensation of rejection or acceptance; shown within Normative Community identification Theory. The Sociable Personality Theory (SIT) outlines self-association and recognition within an organization; both Zimbardo & Asch conducted tests to get the theory demonstrating how conformity is influenced.

Tajfel and Turner suggested the Social identification Theory in 1979, which theory inspired conformity. The SIT was mainly developed to scrutinize and offer understanding to the psychology behind in-group discrimination. The idea looked at how and why people identify themselves as an associate of any particular group; stating that to simply review the mindset of a person at an individual level can be seen as futile, as it is extremely important to have horizons broadened and examine any individuals when they identify themselves as part of a group. The assumption is that after the group members have a clear identification with the in-group it enables them to get a higher level of social identity where esteem is gained through the affiliation from it. This degree of social identity provides motivation to view their in-group as having an increased status within population than the out-groups.

Emler and Hopkins (1990), and Emler and Reicher (1995) tried to study the evidence of 'Out-group Discrimination' by focusing on groups of youths partaking in petty criminal offense. The conclusion out of this study discovered that one clear determination for criminality was that it impressed their in-group peers. Being able to identify with other individuals in the same position, using unlawful activity to make an impression, they find their in-group an alternative solution way to obtain positive identification.

The SIT holds one main strategy; individuals utilize group membership as a device to derive self-esteem, although regular membership alone is shown never to be sufficient for an adequate level of self-esteem. This then can lead to individuals deceiving themselves into thinking they hold an obvious place within the right in-group.

SIT can be divided into four categories; Categorization, Recognition, Comparability and Psychological Distinctiveness. Categorisation is the generalised idea that individuals categorise, often sub-consciously, those around them as well as themselves into different teams which aids in perception with their identities and others, putting them within multiple categories. Identification is when individuals identify to be people of a certain in-group, with the out-groups often discovered as something foreign, as asylum is desired within the in-group to which individuals affiliate themselves with. Assessment within SIT is key; when individuals have a place within a group they begin to compare, often favouring their own groupings; using positive remarks when being descriptive of their own group. Opposingly, when discussing the out-groups, the utilization of negative remarks is recognizable; the result of a need to increase self-esteem and encompass a need to believe that the right in-group has been chosen. Finally, emotional distinctiveness is the reason individuals yearn to be entirely unique within and between categories in a cultural capacity. Individuals also yearn to be favorably perceived and seen as held in a more superior position in comparison to others, further assisting the increase of self-esteem.

The Stanford Jail Experiment (SPE) Zimbardo (1971), depicts conformity and the SIT. The aim of the test was to investigate how commonly individuals would conform to the role of either prisoner or guard in a role play that simulated jail life. Zimbardo tried to depict that idea that in order to conform, guards would become engrossed in the problem and everything rationalised thoughts would disappear, as the behaviour displayed may have been a misunderstanding of what was required. Eventually, Zimbardo was looking to discover whether this brutal behavior of guards was because of the sadistic personalities, or whether it acquired more regarding the jail environment.

The experiment took place in the basement of your university, which was converted into a makeshift prison. 24 participants were decided on and consisted of typically white, middle-class males, with an average era of 24 years of age. 12 individuals were assigned as guards and given uniforms and sunglasses; that was said to dehumanise them. The 12 remaining individuals were assigned as prisoners, given sack like clothing and given figures to displace their names. Furthermore, prisoners wore ankle joint chains as a reminder with their place. The test resulted in prisoners being purchased to perform degrading responsibilities by the guards. The prisoners soon found that disobedience of the guards instructions would lead to severe punishment, and conformity lead to the guards offering ridicule for being too obedient. Fourteen days in, the test arrived an abrupt end, as an outsider protested about the harm being inflicted on the prisoners was unethical, and subsequently their mental balance was being harmed.

In finish of the test, Zimbardo stated that after an individual was given a role to experiment with it became too easy for them to fall season into the given figure, and forget who they initially were; reacting consequently to a given situation, not using the procedure of rationalisation, depicted when those acting as prisoners were adding themselves by the given number, not their titles.

The SIT is strongly backed by the SPE, considering that the findings show that in a specific given situation, participants were quick in determining themselves within a particular group i. e. guards or prisoners, and seen themselves as being more superior or second-rate, reliant on the role given. As a direct result of Zimbardos' SPE, the SIT was implemented as one factor of effect within conformity, encompassing both talents and limits.

The experiment illustrates Tajfels SIT and provides back up by means of numerical data; which hold high relevance as it allows any future research workers to look at it and follow if attempting to study the conclusions further. It further illustrates SIT as a factor that affects conformity, as the behaviours of the participants conform at play. When looking at the four subcategories within SIT; Categorisation, Id, Contrast and Psychological distinctiveness, these can be plainly detected within the SPE experiment. The individuals categorised themselves as either prisoner or guards, and consequently each individual got recognized themselves with either group. Evaluation was seen when the guards noticed themselves to be in a superior status compared to that of the prisoners. The guards often compared their in-group with the out-group (prisoners). Lastly, the subconscious distinctiveness was found when the guards tried out to be unique, concocting various techniques of abuse and torturing the prisoners into compliance.

Whilst the SPE will maintain large weight on the SIT, it does also show restrictions. The sample group of participants were typically while, middle class guys with an approximate era of 24 years old; this might foresee problems in generalising the outcome. It may differ across various ethnicities and their people; each culture contains a vast array of varying principles, therefore making use of all aspects of the idea may prove difficult. For instance, several people from a collectivist culture, where individuals are largely defined by regular membership of a group, because of this they may action differently in a given situation, possibly conforming early without the torture. This does not declare that the SIT does not work in its entirety, but demonstrates within other societies and ethnicities that stress collectivism; conformity may occur at a significantly higher level than in ethnicities that shoot for individualism.

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