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Date Published:Dec 31, 1952
A number of studies have reported on factors that affect conformity to social pressures and social norms (e.g., 2, 5, 13, 19, 24). Very little is known, however, about the relationship between conformity to social norms and actual changes in attitude. From everyday observations we are familiar with two opposing phenomena. On the one hand, there are individuals who conform outwardly to the norms of their social group, but do not really accept these norms (ef. the distinction between public and private attitudes). On the other hand, there are individuals who at first conform behaviorally and verbally to the norms of the group to which they want to belong, but who gradually internalize these norms and begin to believe them. The questions arises, then, as to the conditions under which conformity leads to actual changes in attitude, and the conditions under which it fails to do so.