Asch's study on conformity

  • Created by: MollyL20
  • Created on: 10-09-20 17:33
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  • Asch (1951)
    • Aim
      • Investigate the extent to which social pressure from a group could affect a person to conform
    • Method
      • A lab experiment
      • Using the line judgement task
      • One naive participant with seven confederates the confederates agreed in advance what thier answers would be
      • The naive participant was lead to believe that the confederates were also real participants
      • Each person said aloud which line match with which, the answer was always obvious, making this ambiguous
      • The real participant was sat last or second to last, in some trials the confederates gave the right answers and others the wrong
      • There wear 18 trials in total. 12 trials (critical trials) Asch wanted to see if the real participants conformed to the majority view
    • Results
      • 32% of the participants went along and conformed to the majority to a clearly incorrect answer
      • 75% conformed to at least one trial meaning that 25% never conformed
    • Conclusion
      • After the debrief, most participants said they conformed to the group so they wouldn't feel ridiculed
      • A few participants said that they really did believe that the group was correct over them
    • Evaluations
      • A child of its time: A limitation as it has been proven that its not consistent across different situations meaning its not a fundamental feature of human behaviour
        • Proven wrong by Perrin and Spencer in 1980
      • It was an artificial situation (lab) and task meaning some of the responses may have been due to demand characteristics
        • Is a limitation as the findings can't be generalised, we interact in a group much differently
    • Variations of the study
      • Group size: 3 confederates lead to a 31.8% increase of conformity, any more than 3 only had a little effect
      • Unanimity: the introduction of a dissenter who disagreed before the participant. Conformity was reduced by 25% from when the group was unaimous
        • The dissenter gives the participant more independence the influence of the majority depends on the group being unanimous
      • Task difficulty: when the lines were mpre similar in length, conformity increased because people weren't confident, so looked for guidance
        • Informational social influence plays a greater role when the task is harder and is more ambiguous


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