The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Conformity (psychology)

In psychology, conformity is the degree to which members of a group will change their behaviour, views and attitudes to fit the views of the group. The group can influence members via unconscious processes or via overt social pressure on individuals.

Famous experiments in conformity include:

Herbert Kelman identified three subtypes of conformity:

  • compliance - conforming only publicly, but keeping one's own views in private
  • identification - conforming while a group member, publicly and privately, but not after leaving the group
  • internalization - comforming publicly and privately, during and after group membership

Sociologists believe that compliance is conformity that is usually a result of a direct order, while internalization is conformity that comes from one's total and utter belief in his act.

See also groupthink, mimetism .


  • Kelman, H. (1958). Compliance, identification, and internalization: three processes of attitude change. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2, 31-60.

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Last updated: 05-22-2005 16:04:14