Conformity (Asch)

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  • Created by: z_mills1
  • Created on: 16-05-14 13:47
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  • Conformity (Asch)
    • Procedure
      • in each experiment all but one were confederates
      • in turn, participants and confederates were asked to state which of 3 lines shown was the same length as the stimulus line
      • the real participant always answered last or second last
      • confederates would give the same incorrect answer for 12 out of the 18 trials
    • Findings
      • for the 12 critical trials 36.8% of responses given by participants were incorrect
      • 1/4 of participants never conformed
      • pp's were correct in their judgement 99% of the time without confederates giving the wrong answer
    • Variations
      • difficulty - differences between lines were made smaller
        • conformity increased
      • size of majority
        • low conformity when majority consisted of 2 or 3
        • conformity rose to 30% with a majority of 3
      • unanimity of majority
        • when participant was joined by another real participant conformity fell dramatically
    • Evalauation
      • lack of ecological validity - lab experiment
        • judging lengths of lines is an insignificant task
      • lack of historical and population validity
        • experiment done in 1956 - McCarthyism era, strong anti-communist period when people were scared to be different from the majority
      • conformity or independence?
        • 2/3 of trials where the majority gave the same wrong answer, the participant stuck to their original opinion
          • suggests independent behaviour being shown even in the face of an overwhelming majority


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