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The Cognitive Interview

The Cognitive Interview

Kelman (1958) suggested that there are three types of conformity:

Internalisation: This is a type of conformity when the person changes the internal beliefs as well as their external behaviour. This change is permanent and is usually due to informational social influence.

Identification: This is when the person wants to be part of a group and identifies with some aspects of that groups values, however they do not fully change their beliefs. There is a lack of internalisation. Therefore they change the public behaviour and only temporarily change the beliefs to fit in with the group.

Compliance: This is when the person changes the public behaviour but does not change any of their private opinions. This is the most superficial type of conformity and is only seen when the group is present.

Deutsch & Gerard (1955) developed the two process model and suggested that there are two main explanations for why people conform to the majority:

Normative Social Influence: This is sometimes referred to as the desire to be liked. This is when the person conforms to the opinion of the group just to fit in. They do not change their private opinion, only the public behaviour. This explanation links to compliance or possibly identification, but not internalisation.

Informational Social Influence: This is sometimes referred to as the desire to be right. This is when the person conforms to the opinion of the group because they believe that the group is correct in their opinion. It is seen in situations where an answer is ambiguous. The person looks to the group for guidance and therefore goes along with what they believe to be the groups superior knowledge. This leads to internalisation.


1.One strength of NSI is the research support from Asch's (1951) standard line study. Ash interviewed his participants afterwards and asked them why they confirmed. They said they confirmed because they wanted to be accepted by the group.

2.One strength of ISI is research support from Asch. In one of his variations, when he made the task more difficult, the lines were very similar in length to each other, conformity increased. He said that this could be explained by the desire to be right, ISI.

3.Another strength of ISI comes from the study of Lucas et al, (2006). Lucas gave his participants maths problems to solve. He found that when the maths problems were more difficult, participants were more likely to confirm to the group opinion. He concluded that this was due to ISI, because the participants wanted to be correct.

4. One limitation for NSI comes from the research of McGhee and Teevan, (1967). they argued that there are individual differences in conformity and that some people have a strong need to be liked. He found that these people, whom they called 'Naffiliators' have a strong need for affiliation (to relate to other people) compared to others. This means that not all behaviour can be explained by situational factors.


Memory Exam Questions

Memory Mark Scheme

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