(Original post by psychtalk)
Psych grad here and A level tutor. Happy to review any essays that anyone wants looking at. Useful for me (practicing giving feedback to students) and for you - happy to help
Practice Evaluation Points: Explanations for Conformity
One strength of informational social influence (ISI) as an explanation for conformity, is that there is supporting research from a study conducted by Fein et al. They found that showing supposed 'audience' reactions to a video of a US presidential candidate's speech affected participants' judgements on the candidate's performance. This is a strength of ISI as an explanation of conformity as it supports the idea that when placed in ambiguous situations (such as when watching a US presidential candidate's speech), people tend to look towards others for the 'correct' view to adopt, resulting in others' reactions influencing our own judgements and opinions.
However, a weakness of the NSI and ISI explanation for conformity is that there is research which indicates that it is not a complete explanation for conformity. Asch conducted his non-ambiguous, line length task study on students and found that they were less conformist (28%) than his original participants (37%). This lowers the external validity of the NSI and ISI explanation, as it suggests that conformity isn't simply due to wanting to be right or wanting to avoid social rejection and that it is more complex.
On the other hand, a strength of normative social influence (NSI) is that there is supporting research from a study on Hotel Towel Usage conducted by Schultz et al. They found that hotel guests exposed to messages which stated that 75% of hotel guests re-used their towels, reduced their own towel usage by 25%. This is a strength because their findings suggest that the hotel guests lowered their own towel usage as a result of wanting to avoid social rejection or feel 'left out' from their social group (hotel guests). This supports NSI as an explanation for conformity as it provides evidence for its existence.
However, a weakness of NSI as an explanation for conformity is that there is research evidence to suggest that it is an incomplete explanation. McGhee and Teevan found that nAffiliators (those who have a greater desire for relationships with others) are more likely to conform than those who aren't classed as nAffiliators. This is a weakness because their findings suggest that NSI does not affect everyone in the same way, and that certain individual characteristics can make individuals more or less likely to conform. Thus, their findings suggest that NSI is an incomplete explanation for conformity.