According to the American Psychological Association’s glossary of psychological terms (2012), conformity is the predisposition of an individual to assume similar beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors as other members of the group he or she is trying to fit in to. Studies like Asch’s line judgment experiment in 1955 have shown that many people will go along with the group response even when the evidence of what they see with their own eyes is telling them something different.
While conformity focuses on changing to fit into a group, obedience has more to do with the level of authority of the person doing the influencing. Conformity is more directly related to social pressure and influence, while obedience not only contains a hierarchy or power element not necessary for conformity but also is caused more by a reaction to someone in a position of authority than social influences.
Types of Conformity
Identification is the middle level of conformity. Here a person changes their public behaviour and their private beliefs, but only while they are in the presence of the group. This is a usually a short-term change and normally the result of normative social influence.
Internalisation is the deepest level of conformity. Here a person changes their public behaviour and their private beliefs. This is usually a long-term change and often the result of informational social influence (ISI).