Classroom Activity 1: Conformity Experiment

Classroom Activity 1: Conformity Experiment

written by Amy C. Fineburg (2013, originally published 2013),

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Abstract / Summary
"Social Norm Violation: Have students work in pairs. One person violates the norm while the other watches the situation from a distance. Instruct students to violate a simple social constraint that is not illegal. Below are suggested activities (caution students not to deviate from the list): o Ask someone for his/her seat (in a food court, on a bus/subway, in the lunchroom, etc.) o Sing out loud in a public place o Face the rear of an elevator with other passengers on board o Sit in an empty chair in an otherwise occupied table of people o Call an authority figure or sales person wearing a name tag by his/her first name o Skip instead of walk on a sidewalk or in a store o Speak to someone within four-to-six inches of his/her person Instruct students to refrain from antagonizing the person they are violating. They should stop if asked to stop. The goal is to note the initial reaction of the violation, not push limits of people’s patience. They should be cautioned not to explain to the people they are violating that this was a psychology project. The lack of an excuse enhances the feelings of unease at violating the norm. Students report that violating social norms is more difficult than they believed. They have a hard time getting up the courage to violate the norm, although once the norm is violated, they feel more at ease."
Field of Interest
Amy C. Fineburg
Content Type
Instructional material
Related Web resources
Original Publication Date
Publication Year
Psychology, Social Sciences, Psychology & Counseling, Social Psychology, Asch Conformity Experiment, Observation Methods, Experimental Design, Observation Methods, Experimental Design, Psicología Social, Psicologia Social, Solomon Asch, 1907-1996, Social Psychology, Conformity (personality)
Keywords and Translated Subjects
Psicología Social, Psicologia Social

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