Volume 1, Issue 3 (1972)
Developmental of Conformity and Independence
V.L. Allen, D. Newtson
Several writers have recently adapted Piaget’s (1932) theory of stages of moral development to the area of social influence. From this stage conception, some investigators have predicted increasing conformity to peer influence in early childhood (presocial or egocentric stage), peaking at ages 5-9 (mature conception of norms), then decreasing and remaining at a relatively low level. A careful reading of Piaget indicates, however, that implications of his ideas for conformity are quite equivocal. The theory does not imply that susceptibility to influence will be high at the intermediate stage (ages 5-9)) but rather that children will be extremely rigid in following rules - even to the point of being independent of peer influence that attempts to change the rules. Piaget’s description of the nature of norms at this stage clearly suggests that under certain conditions the child will be independent of the group.
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