NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE
This occurs when people conform because of the very powerful need for social approval and acceptance; to be liked and respected by others in the group and to avoid rejection. The group is seen as powerful and important to the individual.
Normative social influence results in public agreement but isn’t likely to change private opinion.
The main reason for conformity in Asch’s experiment was probably normative social influence. After the experiment, participants said that they wanted the please the examiner, did not want to be different, look stupid and stand out. They were responding group norms. This type of conformity is known as compliance. The conformity is only superficial; the change in opinion/behaviour only lasts as long as the group pressure itself.
INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE
People conform because they believe that the group knows better; that the group has more knowledge, expertise or evidence. People are motivated by the need to be right, to feel confident that what they feel/believe/perceive is right.
Informational social influence occurs when people are uncertain and was probably partially responsible for the effect Sherif (1936) found in his autokinetic studies.
Informational social influence tends to result in private agreement with the group as well as public agreement with the group. This type of conformity is known as internalisation, incorporating or taking in others’ attitudes/values/beliefs; agreeing with the group privately as well as publicly. Because the new norms are internalised, this type of conformity persists even when group pressure is removed.