Group pressure and action against a person

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A distinction is made between action conformity and signal conformity; the former refers to group-induced behavior that has more than an informational impact on the environment. A study of action conformity is described in which the effects of group pressure are measured by comparing the amount of electric shock administered by a naive S to a person, under experimental and control conditions. In the experimental condition the S performs in the midst of 2 confederates who call for increasingly more powerful shocks against a victim. The naive S has control over the level of shock and can hold down the punishment or yield to group influence. In the course of 30 critical trials the mean shock levels rise in response to the confederates' pressure. The structure of the experimental situation is examined by a comparison with Asch's study of verbal compliance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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