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Conformity

Conformity is typically seen as a disposition to copy a majority of an individual’s reference group rather than any minority displaying a different option. Such a rule may cover a variety of psychological phenomena, including behaviors, stated perceptions, attitudes, or beliefs. This entry reviews developmental research on the topic, considering not only the simple rule to “copy the majority” but also more intense forms of this disposition that require either overriding personal preferences or making choices that further exaggerate any existing group bias.

The first of these two intense forms of conformity initially came to prominence in social psychology in the middle years of the 20th century. A good illustration comes from an experiment by Solomon Asch in 1951. Seven individuals were invited in turn ...

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