Conformity - Key Researchers

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  • Conformity
    • Kelman 1958
      • Proposed  2 types of conformity; compliance and internalisation
    • Asch
      • Tested conformity; found conformity on 36.8% of responses, in 12 trials.
        • Complied because of distortion of judgement, distortion of perception and distortion of action.
    • Berns et al
      • Used brain scans to highlight areas of activity when doing experiment
        • If participant conformed, exposure to majority position influenced their perception NOT conscious decision making area
        • If participants did not conform, areas of activity were conscious decision making and emotion. Suggesting an emotional cost in going against group consensus.
    • Eagly and Carli
      • Meta-analysis of 145 studies.
        • Found that women complied more than men.
          • May be due to sex roles - women are more interpersonal so predisposed to conform.
          • However, may be due to equipment used in experiment - woman may have been less familiar with equipment and so less confident not more conformist.
    • Williams and Sogon
      • Validity of research into conformity
        • Found that conformity may be higher with people you know.
    • Perrin and Spencer
      • Repeated  Aschs study but found one conforming response out of 39 trials.
      • In subsequent study used youths on probation as participants and probation officers as confederates.
        • Found similar levels of conformity as Asch's original study.
          • Suggests that conformity is high when perceived costs of non-conformity are high.
    • Nicholson et al
      • Also replicated Asch's study and found evidence for conformity in British students
        • Explained the difference between their results and Perrin and Spencer's in terms of greater feeling of national cohesion following Falklands war.
    • Mori and Arai
      • Overcame problem of unconvincing confederates by using glasses with special polarising filters. Participants saw different image to confederates.
        • Found similar levels of conformity, suggesting confederates in original study acted convincingly.
    • Smith and Bond
      • Meta analysis of 133 conformity studies in 17 countries.
        • Collectivist countries showed higher conformity.
        • Impact of cultural variables greater than any other variable, such as gender.
        • Levels of conformity in US declined steadily since Asch's study.
        • Conformity higher when larger majority size, more female participants and more ambiguous stimuli.
      • Limitations
        • Cultures are not homogenous and differences between individualist and collectivist values within different cultures have been established.
        • Some material may be more relevant or meaningful in different cultures


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