This is a Perpetual Experiment, so Chaos Reigns Supreme Here....

Initially, I'd hoped this blog would become a bit more cohesive over time. . . it has not. I honestly still don't know what the mission of this blog is, nor does it really matter that much (I don't think people actually read this blog to begin with, so I'm not going to waste too much time worrying about my organizational blogging techniques). If you happen across this blog, I hope that something is helpful, interesting, or simply a way to kill some time in a semi-meaningful way. Good luck, and good will to all of you along the journey...

12.9.09

DESTRUCTIVE OBEDIENCE - WHEN TO CONFORM OR NOT

Destructive obedience,
particularly obedience to authority (e.g., Milgram 1974), has had and continues to have an enormous impact in the field of social psychology. Current theories will be explored as possible explanations to this type of behavior. Specific theories to be examined include; Normative influence theory (Deutsch & Gerard, 1955), Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957), and Foot-in-the-door theory (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). In addition, questions introduced in regard to the validity and reliability of the indicated theories will be evaluated.  
Group Conformity and Obedience: Normative Influence, Cognitive Dissonanace, and Foot-in-door-effect
The current review will explore examples of normative social influence (Asch, 1951), such as the classic line-judging study of Asch (1951,1956) as well as current research contributing to the topic of this theory which has demonstrated there is a fundamental human need to belong to social group (Asch, 1951), indicating the more an individual sees other individuals behaving in a certain way or making particular decisions (Asch, 1951), the more obligated the individual feels to conform to the rules and behaviors of that particular group. Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) and other related theories will also be explored in relation to obedience to authority despite conflicting moral values, including the landmark study on destructive obedience conducted by Milgram (1974). 
Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) hypothesizes that human beings are motivated to strive towards harmony, balance, or consistency among various components of their cognitive systems.  A central premise of cognitive dissonance theory is that when a person holds two contradictory or inconsistent cognitions, he or she will experience an aversive inner state known as cognitive dissonance and will be motivated to restore consistency by various means which will be explored in further detail throughout this review (Foster & Nicholas, 2000). Current studies which expand on Milgram’s findings will also be examined.  Lastly, a more current theory related to destructive obedience and conformity will be assessed which was first posited by Freedman & Fraser (1966) and later expanded upon by subsequent research and reviews (e.g., Burger’s meta-analysis, 1999, Burger and Caldwell 2003), some of which will be evaluated in the current review as well as possible alternative explanations for destructive conformity and obedience.
Historical Overview ;
Though many studies had been conducted prior to those of Solomon Asch, Asch is considered one of the pioneers in the study of group conformity, which would ultimately lead to hundreds of subsequent experiments, including the classic studies of Stanley Milgram.  The Asch conformity experiments were a series of experiments that had a profound impact on the views of group conformity at that time in the psychological community.- 
THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT IN MORE DETAIL:
The participants were all seated in a classroom, both confederates and the real participant (the actual participant was strategically placed in such a way where he or she would be one of the last to answer).  Though the correct answer was obvious, the confederates had been pre-instructed to give an incorrect answer on every occasion.  Even though the actual participant showed extreme discomfort, many conformed to the majority view of the others in the room, even when the majority was obviously wrong.  Moreover, the participants in Asch’s study were not coerced in any way to conform to the group.
On the first measure, Asch (1951, 1956) found that approximately two thirds (63.2%) get rid of percent numbers  of the total responses were independent, or correct.  Approximately one third (36.8%) same here conformed to the erroneous majority.  As predicted, a high number of experimental participants conformed to social pressure from a group of peers. In the control group, participants were given the test alone and nearly all of them gave the correct answer. These results support the concept of normative influence, which is based on the desire for social approval (Levine, 1999).  As a result of Asch’s experiments, as well as others, such as Sherif (1936) and Frank (1944), subsequent experiments emerged, including those of Milgram (1974). 
Inspired by the Nuremburg trials where Nazi officers would often plead that the were only following orders, Milgram integrated these social psychology experiments of conformity and obedience in an attempt to better understand the ability of seemingly normal average citizens to commit acts as devastating as the systematic slaughter millions of innocent people in the name of obedience. Milgram’s groundbreaking experiment tested obedience to authority by recruiting participants from diverse social and educational backgrounds under the guise of studying the effectiveness of punishment on learning behavior.  Both participants were introduced to each other.  The confederate was a 47 year old mild-mannered accountant who was actually to be the learner (unbeknownst to the real participant). Both participants were given a slip of paper in order to randomly assign a “teacher” and a “learner.” The “learner” was actually an actor and claimed to have been assigned as the “learner,” so that the actual participant was led to believe that the roles had been chosen randomly. In actuality, both of the slips of paper said “teacher.”  At the beginning of the experiment, the experimenter made it clear that the participants were free to leave with the money that had been promised to them for their participation at any time during the experiment.  The experimenter explained to both participants that the punishment would be given via electric shock.  Both men were escorted into a room that had what looked similar to an electric chair in which the learner was strapped into in order to eliminate excessive movement.  It was evident to the teacher that the learner would not be able to free himself if he chose to do so.  The main measure of the experiment for any participant was the maximum level of shock the teacher administered before he refused to go any further, (thereby initiating action). Electrodes were then pasted to the learner’s wrist to provide more efficient conduction of the electrical shocks and “avoid blisters or burns.”  He was then told he would be learning word pairs and that when he made an error he would receive a shock of increasing intensity for every mistake in increments of 15 volts.  The teacher was then escorted back into another room and seated in front of an impressive electric shock generator. The generator consisted of 30 switches in sequential 15-VOLT shock intervals from left to right going up to 450 volts. Before the real experiment began, the teacher and learner conducted a “practice run.” In order to ensure the instructions of the experiment were fully understood. The teacher was also given a 45 volt shock before the experiment began as an example of what he would be administering to the learner. It is noteworthy to mention that when Milgram asked a group of psychologists to estimate the percentage of participants who would go all the way prior to the experiment, they predicted approximately (this will be one to two percent – no numbers) 1-2%, presumably the “sadists” of the group. The teacher conducted the paired-associate learning task to the learner (Milgram, 1974).  If the learner answered incorrectly, the teacher announced the voltage level prior to administering the shock.  This served to continually remind the participants of the increasing intensity of shocks administered.  The learner had coordinated a designated verbal response to particular voltage levels.  For example, at 75 volts, the learner grunted, at120 volts, the learner shouted at the experimenter that the shocks were becoming painful, at 150 volts, he screamed to be released from the experiment and each increase in voltage resulted in more agonizing screams from the “learner.”  At 300 volts, the learner shouted that he would not answer anymore questions.  He would not answer after 300 volts, other than agonizing screams.  Shortly thereafter, not a sound was heard from the learner and it could be assumed by the teacher that the learner was either unconscious or dead.  Even so, 63% of the participants went all the way to the maximum 450 volts. Milgram’s classic experiment on destructive obedience has been replicated and modified in countless studies,  Milgram’s studies on authority as well as more studies of similar nature, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment (Zimbardo, 1973) and the more current studies of administrative obedience, such as the Utrecht studies (Meeus & Raaijmakers, 1995).
Normative social influence suggests that human beings have a fundamental need to belong and to be accepted by social groups, and in order to maintain social harmony, the individual may comply with the norms of a majority group, both explicitly and implicitly.  This theory suggests that the more a person sees others behaving in a certain way, the more likely he or she will feel obligated to conform, even if the person is amongst a group of strangers. 
normative influence produced public compliance but not private acceptance
Participants also believed that they would be more likely to change their opinions when it was mentioned that the disagreeing person gave a good argument (delete reference here).  These results support the notion that people’s perceptions of the relative effectiveness of informational and normative influence are influenced by task type.
Milgram destructive obedience studies are relevant examples (1974) in which it was estimated by Milgram’s colleges that approximately 1-2% of the participants would fully comply; the “sadists” of society. When participants in following studies were explained in detail the Milgram Obedience to Authority study, approximately 9% said they might have “gone all the way.” In fact, 63% complied fully (Milgram, 1974).  Dual process (Normative/Informational) theory (Deutch & Gerrard, 1953) has been criticized from a number of perspectives. Some state that the distinction between normative and informational influence is unclear, or that there is a third type of influence. Other factors such as culture may have a significant impact on social influence.
Mess argues that conformity is a natural evolutional side effect similar to that of the obedience of the universal laws of physics, stating that, “If an individual does not automatically react in that [conventional] way, it does not ‘disobey’ the ‘law of the herd’. It is not fully part of its herd (not fully integrated into it) and, as a result, it will probably be liquidated sooner or later (Mess, 2002).”  Mess argues that obedience (even blind obedience) is a basic human trait, similar to the obedience of a planet’s rotation or that of gravity, and that these two mechanisms of obeying (normative obedience and obedience to universal laws) are essentially similar in nature.  It is important to note that this review has found no empirical evidence in support of this idea proposed by Mess (2002).  Nonetheless, this review seems an appropriate an intriguing example of an obvious cultural discrepancy (a collectivist society’s point of view) in the assessment of normative influence and conformity and/or obedience in general.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Essentially, cognitive dissonance (delete “theory”) occurs when there is a discrepancy between two (or more) attitudes or an attitude and behavior(s)(Festinger and Carlsmith, 1959).  EXAMPLE OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE:  For example, a person may have a negative attitude toward smoking cigarettes, but he or she continues to smoke despite the apparent discrepancy between his or her thoughts (attitudes) and behavior.  This may lead the person to experience cognitive dissonance.  Possible causes of dissonance include the importance of the attitude(s) involved in the inconsistency; choice versus no choice involved in the inconsistent behavior; and/or negative consequences from others that result from the inconsistent behavior.
Milgram’s participants reported they were acting against their beliefs for the benefit of scientific advancemen
FOOT IN THE DOOR – BRIEF INTRODUCTION:
The foot-in-the-door effect is a means of gaining compliance gradually (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). This technique involves making an initial small request, and then following this initial request up with a second larger request. The foot in the door technique is effective due to shifts in self perception. Upon granting the first request an individual's view of him or herself may shift in the direction of greater helpfulness. This shift in self perception increases the likelihood that the individual will grant the second larger request.
Fads and fashions lean heavily on normative social influence. So do racial, political and other situations of persuasion.

So what?

To change a person’s behavior, put them in a group who (perhaps primed) clearly all exhibit the desired behavior. Then engineer the situation so the person must exhibit the behavior or face potential rejection or other social punishment. If they do not comply, ensure the group gives steadily increasing social punishment rather than rejecting the target person immediately. When they do comply, they should receive social reward (eg. praise, inclusion).

Defending

Where you want to do something and the group in which you currently are socially punishes you for doing it, make a conscious decision as to whether it is worth fighting back or just giving up and leaving. If they mean nothing to you, just carry on and ignore them.
It can also be very heartening to watch other people resisting (and your doing so may well give heart to other doubters). 
You can also acquire idiosyncrasy credits, where the group puts up with your eccentricities. To do this, be consistent in what you do, whilst also showing that in doing so you are not threatening the integrity of the group.
**Obviously, being trapped in an environment against our will eliminates the solution of “simply leaving.  Either conform or “acquire idiosyncrasy credits,” which is almost impossible.”**


U              HITLER AND THE NAZI REGIME

chapter I            1
hitler’s inauguration            2
no-so-subtle anti-semitism      3
chapter II            4


M
(incomplete copy)
Brainwashing in its most massive and destructive form.  hitler had years to subtly and cleverly weave his finely tuned words into the minds of the germans, beginning with propaganca so benign, most people would hardly see any radical or conflicting beliefs leaping off the pages-warning signs of what was to come- such as;  Hitler’s beliefs and “solutions”  to racial conflict, desire for world comination, genocide, and the like . . . he wrote about unemployment and possible solutions to political shortcomings, only to slowly contaminate each letter, packet, pamphlet with a little bit of racism here and a little bit of distaste for the way europe treated germany in other there . . . (a sore spot, so soon after wwi). 
hitler didn’t simply slam his radical ideas onto the people all at once – he used a carefully laid out formula of subtlety, time ,patience, and a lot  of patriotism (this does not mean that the changes were fully welcomed and there was no bloodshed.  The nazis tolerated no dissension or political challange and were brutal in their responses, as well as extreme in their propaganda crusade (see blog below for details).  Then there was the odd “pied piper” effect that bedazzled millions upon millions.  Even with doubts, how do you look around at your fellow citizens and friends and family and still resiist?  and then comes the punishment.  there is always a negative consequence involved in non-conformity within a totalitarian regime such as this (which is analagous to ccm, tb, high impact,  etc, etc, etc.  -  fill in the blank.  hitler was able to naturally manipulate all of the theories that i discussed in my paper, and it came to him naturally.  he became like a drug.  (though not really the case of these wwasp programs, it still becomes very difficult to dissassimilate from the communal whole and reintegrate into society – creating an intense fear (in my case)- of leaving the hostile and tremendously unhappy environment)…..
After the death of Hindenburg on 2 August 1934, Hitler called a
referendum to approve his assumption of full power as Führer and Chancellor ofGermany. Rudolf Hess gave this speech on 14 August 1934, shortly before the 19August referendum in which 90% of the voters approved Hitler's increasedpowers.
Electing Adolf Hitler 
Führer/hitler q & a session  on race/hheritage
by Rudolf Hess:
“National Socialists! Fellow German citizens!
I have rarely given a speech as difficult as this one. It is a challenge to attempt to
prove the good of something as obvious as Hitler's assumption of Hindenburg's
position. For fourteen years I have been convinced that he is the only man able to
master Germany's fate. This conviction has grown over the years, as the original
emotional feeling found new support in endless ways that have demonstrated
Adolf Hitler's remarkable leadership abilities. It is hard for me, now that I see the
realization of fourteen years of hopes, to gather the various reasons that explain,,,how Adolf Hitler has become the highest and only Führer of the German people.
Whether through good luck or providence, I found in the summer of 1920 a small
room in the Sterneckerbräu in which one Adolf Hitler, whom I had never heard of,
gave a speech to a few dozen people. His clear, logical and persuasive speech laid
out a new political program. This man expressed my own vague feelings as a
veteran of the war, making clear what was necessary for the nation's salvation.
He outlined a new Germany from the heart of a front soldier, a Germany that I
suddenly realized was the one that had to become reality!
This man had driving passion, persuasive logic, and astonishing knowledge. A powerful faith streamed from him — I had never experienced its like. What was
most remarkable was that I and the other entirely rational members of the
audience did not laugh as he in all seriousness explained that the flag of the new
movement for which he and his movement fought would one day fly over the Reichstag, over the Palace of Berlin, indeed over every German building. It wouldbe the victorious symbol of a new, honorable, nationalist and socialist Germany. At that moment in the Sterneckbräu there were really only two possibilites.  Either I would leave this fool immediately, or — as I did — accept the conviction:  This man will save Germany, if anyone can!”
A racial relationship is also evident in the same or similar cultural
products, sagas, legends and customs.
What were and are the particular characteristics of the NordicRace?
Courage, bravery, creative ability and desire, loyalty.
The German people is, along with the English, Danish, Norwegian and
Swedish, the most racially pure of the European peoples. With regards
to the purity of language, the Scandinavian peoples are in first place.
Its Gothic script
is particularly lovely, and it should be maintained…
**because some of the material is so offensive, I’ve omitted parts.  If you would like the entire (quite long) propaganda packet, including this speech, unedited, then lset me know.  the material dates from 1931 or 1932 all the way to post-war 1945, Maybe later.  As far as I know, Dr. Bytwerk translated ALL of thes information from german to english.  I also have his blog and website info if interested (he is a practicing professor & historian).**
“q & a session . . . . . . .”
…..Which race must the National Socialist race fight against?
The jewish.
….While the German people was fighting a life and death battle during the
World War, the Jew incited people at home and seduced them into
treason. The November Revolution of 1918 that brought about
Germany's collapse was the work of the Jew.
In countless newspapers in Germany and abroad, he brought everything
German into the mud, slandering us and inciting our enemies even more
than they already were. His lackeys in leading positions in the Reich
persecuted the National Socialist movement, bringing the fighters for a
new Germany before judges and throwing them into prison.
He corrupted Germans through bad books, and mocked true literature
and German music, replacing it with ungermanic music. Everywhere, his
influence was destructive.
What is racial defilement?
Forgetting our spirit and our blood. A careless disregard of our nature
and a contempt for our blood. No German man may take a Jewish
woman as his wife, and no German girl may marry a Jew. Those who do
that exclude themselves from the community of the German people.
What must the National Socialist movement do?
Adolf Hitler said:
"Care must be taken, at least in our nation, that the
deadliest enemy (the Jew) is recognized, and that the battle against him
is seen as the shining symbol of a brighter day that will also show other
peoples the path to the salvation of fighting Aryan humanity."
???   
Hitler makes this primary directive sound like the German people are attacking the devil himself for their own salvation (which is probably about how he felt about the issue)
Which European people disregard the racial question?
France. It has accepted large numbers of blacks into its army. It has
given them the same political rights as the whites. Thus it can happen
that black officers command whites. Blacks and Moroccans fought
against Germany in the World War…. **(parts are omitted here)**
…..Germans — never forget that!
What does your people mean to you?
You are born into your people, my child, of a German mother. Your
father is a German. And you belong to the German people just as every
part of your body belongs to you. You are a link in a great chain, a part of
the whole. Alone, you are nothing, but when you live in your people you
are everything. Your people's destiny is your destiny. Its struggles and
sorrows, its joys and its miseries, are yours. All Germans are your
brothers. You may not think, want or do anything that harms your
people! The history of your people is great and glorious, and you can be
proud of it. The days of betrayal and the years of shame that Germany
had to endure between 1918 and 1933 are a warning to you. You must
work and create for the resurrection of your Fatherland.
The greatness of your people
calls you to loyalty! Never forget that
Frederick the Great and Bismarck were your brothers, as are those
heroes of the World War who sleep in foreign soil or in the depths of the
sea! The war memorials in the streets of the cities and the market places
of the villages call to you. Never forget that we cheerfully shed our 
blood
for you, for Germany's holy soil, for the good and the life of this great
people!
****trust me, the political jargon gets a lot worse than this as time passes.
[Page copyright © 2003 by Randall Bytwerk. (i have all his info if interested)
Destructive obedience,
particularly obedience to authority (e.g., Milgram 1974), has had and continues to have an enormous impact in the field of social psychology. Current theories will be explored as possible explanations to this type of behavior. Specific theories to be examined include; Normative influence theory (Deutsch & Gerard, 1955), Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957), and Foot-in-the-door theory (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). In addition, questions introduced in regard to the validity and reliability of the indicated theories will be evaluated.  
Group Conformity and Obedience: Normative Influence, Cognitive Dissonanace, and Foot-in-door-effect
The current review will explore examples of normative social influence (Asch, 1951), such as the classic line-judging study of Asch (1951,1956) as well as current research contributing to the topic of this theory which has demonstrated there is a fundamental human need to belong to social group (Asch, 1951), indicating the more an individual sees other individuals behaving in a certain way or making particular decisions (Asch, 1951), the more obligated the individual feels to conform to the rules and behaviors of that particular group. Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) and other related theories will also be explored in relation to obedience to authority despite conflicting moral values, including the landmark study on destructive obedience conducted by Milgram (1974). 
Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) hypothesizes that human beings are motivated to strive towards harmony, balance, or consistency among various components of their cognitive systems.  A central premise of cognitive dissonance theory is that when a person holds two contradictory or inconsistent cognitions, he or she will experience an aversive inner state known as cognitive dissonance and will be motivated to restore consistency by various means which will be explored in further detail throughout this review (Foster & Nicholas, 2000). Current studies which expand on Milgram’s findings will also be examined.  Lastly, a more current theory related to destructive obedience and conformity will be assessed which was first posited by Freedman & Fraser (1966) and later expanded upon by subsequent research and reviews (e.g., Burger’s meta-analysis, 1999, Burger and Caldwell 2003), some of which will be evaluated in the current review as well as possible alternative explanations for destructive conformity and obedience.
Historical Overview ;
Though many studies had been conducted prior to those of Solomon Asch, Asch is considered one of the pioneers in the study of group conformity, which would ultimately lead to hundreds of subsequent experiments, including the classic studies of Stanley Milgram.  The Asch conformity experiments were a series of experiments that had a profound impact on the views of group conformity at that time in the psychological community.- 
THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT IN MORE DETAIL:
The participants were all seated in a classroom, both confederates and the real participant (the actual participant was strategically placed in such a way where he or she would be one of the last to answer).  Though the correct answer was obvious, the confederates had been pre-instructed to give an incorrect answer on every occasion.  Even though the actual participant showed extreme discomfort, many conformed to the majority view of the others in the room, even when the majority was obviously wrong.  Moreover, the participants in Asch’s study were not coerced in any way to conform to the group.
On the first measure, Asch (1951, 1956) found that approximately two thirds (63.2%) get rid of percent numbers  of the total responses were independent, or correct.  Approximately one third (36.8%) same here conformed to the erroneous majority.  As predicted, a high number of experimental participants conformed to social pressure from a group of peers. In the control group, participants were given the test alone and nearly all of them gave the correct answer. These results support the concept of normative influence, which is based on the desire for social approval (Levine, 1999).  As a result of Asch’s experiments, as well as others, such as Sherif (1936) and Frank (1944), subsequent experiments emerged, including those of Milgram (1974). 
Inspired by the Nuremburg trials where Nazi officers would often plead that the were only following orders, Milgram integrated these social psychology experiments of conformity and obedience in an attempt to better understand the ability of seemingly normal average citizens to commit acts as devastating as the systematic slaughter millions of innocent people in the name of obedience. Milgram’s groundbreaking experiment tested obedience to authority by recruiting participants from diverse social and educational backgrounds under the guise of studying the effectiveness of punishment on learning behavior.  Both participants were introduced to each other.  The confederate was a 47 year old mild-mannered accountant who was actually to be the learner (unbeknownst to the real participant). Both participants were given a slip of paper in order to randomly assign a “teacher” and a “learner.” The “learner” was actually an actor and claimed to have been assigned as the “learner,” so that the actual participant was led to believe that the roles had been chosen randomly. In actuality, both of the slips of paper said “teacher.”  At the beginning of the experiment, the experimenter made it clear that the participants were free to leave with the money that had been promised to them for their participation at any time during the experiment.  The experimenter explained to both participants that the punishment would be given via electric shock.  Both men were escorted into a room that had what looked similar to an electric chair in which the learner was strapped into in order to eliminate excessive movement.  It was evident to the teacher that the learner would not be able to free himself if he chose to do so.  The main measure of the experiment for any participant was the maximum level of shock the teacher administered before he refused to go any further, (thereby initiating action). Electrodes were then pasted to the learner’s wrist to provide more efficient conduction of the electrical shocks and “avoid blisters or burns.”  He was then told he would be learning word pairs and that when he made an error he would receive a shock of increasing intensity for every mistake in increments of 15 volts.  The teacher was then escorted back into another room and seated in front of an impressive electric shock generator. The generator consisted of 30 switches in sequential 15-VOLT shock intervals from left to right going up to 450 volts. Before the real experiment began, the teacher and learner conducted a “practice run.” In order to ensure the instructions of the experiment were fully understood. The teacher was also given a 45 volt shock before the experiment began as an example of what he would be administering to the learner. It is noteworthy to mention that when Milgram asked a group of psychologists to estimate the percentage of participants who would go all the way prior to the experiment, they predicted approximately (this will be one to two percent – no numbers) 1-2%, presumably the “sadists” of the group. The teacher conducted the paired-associate learning task to the learner (Milgram, 1974).  If the learner answered incorrectly, the teacher announced the voltage level prior to administering the shock.  This served to continually remind the participants of the increasing intensity of shocks administered.  The learner had coordinated a designated verbal response to particular voltage levels.  For example, at 75 volts, the learner grunted, at120 volts, the learner shouted at the experimenter that the shocks were becoming painful, at 150 volts, he screamed to be released from the experiment and each increase in voltage resulted in more agonizing screams from the “learner.”  At 300 volts, the learner shouted that he would not answer anymore questions.  He would not answer after 300 volts, other than agonizing screams.  Shortly thereafter, not a sound was heard from the learner and it could be assumed by the teacher that the learner was either unconscious or dead.  Even so, 63% of the participants went all the way to the maximum 450 volts. Milgram’s classic experiment on destructive obedience has been replicated and modified in countless studies,  Milgram’s studies on authority as well as more studies of similar nature, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment (Zimbardo, 1973) and the more current studies of administrative obedience, such as the Utrecht studies (Meeus & Raaijmakers, 1995).
Normative social influence suggests that human beings have a fundamental need to belong and to be accepted by social groups, and in order to maintain social harmony, the individual may comply with the norms of a majority group, both explicitly and implicitly.  This theory suggests that the more a person sees others behaving in a certain way, the more likely he or she will feel obligated to conform, even if the person is amongst a group of strangers. 
normative influence produced public compliance but not private acceptance
Participants also believed that they would be more likely to change their opinions when it was mentioned that the disagreeing person gave a good argument (delete reference here).  These results support the notion that people’s perceptions of the relative effectiveness of informational and normative influence are influenced by task type.
Milgram destructive obedience studies are relevant examples (1974) in which it was estimated by Milgram’s colleges that approximately 1-2% of the participants would fully comply; the “sadists” of society. When participants in following studies were explained in detail the Milgram Obedience to Authority study, approximately 9% said they might have “gone all the way.” In fact, 63% complied fully (Milgram, 1974).  Dual process (Normative/Informational) theory (Deutch & Gerrard, 1953) has been criticized from a number of perspectives. Some state that the distinction between normative and informational influence is unclear, or that there is a third type of influence. Other factors such as culture may have a significant impact on social influence.
Mess argues that conformity is a natural evolutional side effect similar to that of the obedience of the universal laws of physics, stating that, “If an individual does not automatically react in that [conventional] way, it does not ‘disobey’ the ‘law of the herd’. It is not fully part of its herd (not fully integrated into it) and, as a result, it will probably be liquidated sooner or later (Mess, 2002).”  Mess argues that obedience (even blind obedience) is a basic human trait, similar to the obedience of a planet’s rotation or that of gravity, and that these two mechanisms of obeying (normative obedience and obedience to universal laws) are essentially similar in nature.  It is important to note that this review has found no empirical evidence in support of this idea proposed by Mess (2002).  Nonetheless, this review seems an appropriate an intriguing example of an obvious cultural discrepancy (a collectivist society’s point of view) in the assessment of normative influence and conformity and/or obedience in general.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Essentially, cognitive dissonance (delete “theory”) occurs when there is a discrepancy between two (or more) attitudes or an attitude and behavior(s)(Festinger and Carlsmith, 1959).  EXAMPLE OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE:  For example, a person may have a negative attitude toward smoking cigarettes, but he or she continues to smoke despite the apparent discrepancy between his or her thoughts (attitudes) and behavior.  This may lead the person to experience cognitive dissonance.  Possible causes of dissonance include the importance of the attitude(s) involved in the inconsistency; choice versus no choice involved in the inconsistent behavior; and/or negative consequences from others that result from the inconsistent behavior.
Milgram’s participants reported they were acting against their beliefs for the benefit of scientific advancemen
FOOT IN THE DOOR – BRIEF INTRODUCTION:
The foot-in-the-door effect is a means of gaining compliance gradually (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). This technique involves making an initial small request, and then following this initial request up with a second larger request. The foot in the door technique is effective due to shifts in self perception. Upon granting the first request an individual's view of him or herself may shift in the direction of greater helpfulness. This shift in self perception increases the likelihood that the individual will grant the second larger request.
Fads and fashions lean heavily on normative social influence. So do racial, political and other situations of persuasion.

So what?

To change a person’s behavior, put them in a group who (perhaps primed) clearly all exhibit the desired behavior. Then engineer the situation so the person must exhibit the behavior or face potential rejection or other social punishment. If they do not comply, ensure the group gives steadily increasing social punishment rather than rejecting the target person immediately. When they do comply, they should receive social reward (eg. praise, inclusion).

Defending

Where you want to do something and the group in which you currently are socially punishes you for doing it, make a conscious decision as to whether it is worth fighting back or just giving up and leaving. If they mean nothing to you, just carry on and ignore them.
It can also be very heartening to watch other people resisting (and your doing so may well give heart to other doubters). 
You can also acquire idiosyncrasy credits, where the group puts up with your eccentricities. To do this, be consistent in what you do, whilst also showing that in doing so you are not threatening the integrity of the group.
**Obviously, being trapped in an environment against our will eliminates the solution of “simply leaving.  Either conform or “acquire idiosyncrasy credits,” which is almost impossible.”**