On the surface they appear similar, when you examine them they actually have very different psychological explanations.
- Obedience – following orders from a figure of authority.
- Conformity – changing behaviour and/or attitudes & beliefs because of real or imagined pressure from peers.
A famous and shocking study investigating conformity was conducted by Solomon Asch (1951), with some eye opening findings.
Participants in a group were given the simple task of matching lines. The correct answer was always obvious. Stooges were placed in the group to give wrong answers. Would any participants join in and say the wrong answer even though they knew it was wrong?
75% of participants conformed at least once. 32% conformed the majority of the time.
This study shows the power of the group.
Is this study still relevant today?
What are your thoughts on it?