Asch's conformity Study

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  • Asch's conformity study
    • Procedure
      • Participants: 123 white American males
      • Two white cards: one displayed a control line and the other displayed three lines, one the same as the control and two obviously different
      • Groups: made up of 1 participant and 6-8 confederates
      • Task: participants were asked to identify the line that matched the control line. Confederates were instructed to give the same wrong answer
    • Variations
      • Group size
        • conformity increased to 31.8%  when the number of confederates was increased to 3, but not much change after that
      • Unanimity
        • Asch introduced a confederate to disagree with the other confederate,conformity dropped by 1/4
      • Task difficulty
        • Asch made the standard line more difficult to distinguish from the other lines. Conformity was increased.
    • Conclusions
      • Influence of the majority depends on the group being unanimous
      • People conform more/ ISI plays a greater role when task difficulty is increased because people look for more guidance
      • 3 dissenters is the optimum level for people to conform
    • Results
      • Participants gave the wrong answer 36.8% of the time
      • 25% of participants didn't conform at all
      • Most participants admitted that they conformed because they didn't want to be rejected
    • Evaluation
      • Contradicting research: Perrin and Spencer. Only 1 group conformed out of 396
      • Demand characteristics could have been displayed: participants were aware they were taking part in a trial
      • Not representative of the population as whole - can't be generalised due to lack of cultural and gender representatives
      • Ethical issues: participants were  deceived


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