SOCIAL - Asch's (1951) and Zimbardo's (1973) study into conformity

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  • Asch's ('51) and Zimbardo's ('73) study into conformity
    • Asch ('51)
      • PROCEDURE: 50 male PPs shown two cards with lines on (original card  with one line and comparrison card with 3 lines, 1 the same as the original card). PPs stated which lines were the same. Each group put with confederates (thought they were genuine PPs), real PPs put last or second to last, 18 total trials - 12 = critical trials, were confeds told to give wrong answer. in first 6, confeds gave right answer
      • RESULTS: PPs conformed to unambiguous answer in 32% of critical trials, 74% of PPs conformed at least once, 26% didn't conform at all.
        • POST-INTERVIEW: people conformed for diff reasons: don't want to be rejected (NSI) or they actually believe it (ISI)
        • sample bias - all PPs were male, not generalisable to females
        • 50s - conservative USA, great desire to fit in after Cold War
        • ethics - deception, lack of informed consent, possible psychological damage, BUT did debrief after the experiment
        • paradigm - standard and accepted way of conducting research
        • time consuming - only tested 1 PP at a time with the confeds
        • unrealistic - lacks mundane realism and not applicable to real world situations
        • overall conformity = 32% - majority wasn't conformist on most of the unambiguous trials - BUT expected no one to conform
        • demand characteristics - PPs knew what was going on and conformed as they though that's what the experimenter wants - this distorts results
      • MORI & ARAI (2010) re-did Asch's study. No confeds - PPs given different glasses to differenlty percieve the lines. Afterwards, PPs given questionnaire to see if anyone was suspicious or influenced by others
        • RESULTS: 78 PPs who saw normal lines answered incorrectly 8.2% of the time (77 out of 936) - no signif gender diffs, 26 PPs of minority answered incorrectly 19.6% of the time (61 out of 312). Female minority answered incorrectly 28.6% of the time, male = 5%. Female results: similar to Asch, conformed on 12 crit.trials 4.41 times (A=3.44 times)
    • Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment ('73)
        • date: at the time when people were anti-authority - didn't expect people to go along with social roles
        • studied how much people would conform to SOCIAL ROLES - identification conformity
        • 24 college students answered a newspaper ad, has psychological test (research situational factors, not dispositional factors (personality)), randomly divided into two groups , guards and prisoners, instructed to act out their roles as if they were real, prisoners arrested by surprise by real officers
        • once in the prison: deloused and stripped, made to wear uniform with chains around ankles and given ID numbers (removing clothes - personal identity stripped - MORTIFICATION), guards free to make rules, solitary confinement, 'privilege cell' to break unity of prisoners
      • RESULTS
        • 2nd day - prisoners rebelled and barricaded themselves in prison cells - guards reacted strongly
        • condition of prisoners caused stress, guards role was even more brutal than expected
        • supposed to last for 2 weeks - stopped after 6 days
        • 'in a few days, the role dominated the person' - Zimbardo
        • Ethics
          • psychological damage - guards have guilt, we may be all capable of evil
          • not fully informed consent - didn't know they were going to be arrested at home - intrusion
          • deception - blindfolded when taken to prison (thought they went to actual police station), was just converted rooms at a university
        • practical application: training prison officers, doesn't make prisoners better upon release
        • tells us about human nature - evil side, 'ends justify the means'
        • individual differences - not all guards and priosners acted thesme way
        • Zimbardo regards study as failure - hoped it would change prison systems, but now they are worse in the USA than before


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