Conformity Studies. Aim. Procedure. Findings. Evaluation.

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  • Conformity Studies
    • Milgram (74) Obedience
      • Procedure
        • Subjects were lead to believe they were participating in a learning study. They were given the role of teacher and had to shock the learner (who was not really being shocked) going up 15 volts a time up to a voltage of 450 (lethal voltage). After the experiment the participants were debriefed the aims of the study.
      • Findings
        • 65% of people went to 450 volts. No participants stopped before 300 volts.
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths: Lab Experiment so high control & Internal validity.
          • Weaknesses: Ethical issues like informed consent and deception (although debrief counters this). Lacks ecological validity.
      • Aim
        • To investigate how far people will go in obeying an authority figure.
    • Asch (51) Normative Social Influence
      • Procedure
        • Seven male students were shown a vertical line and 3 vertical line with 1 of them being the same length. 6 of the participants were accomplices to the experiment and had to give clear wrong answers. The real participant answered 2nd to last.
      • Aim
        • TO see if participants would yield to majority social influence and give incorrect answers in a situation where the correct answer is always obvious.
      • Findings
        • Participants conformed to the majority vote 32% of the time. 74% conformed at least once and 26% never conformed because they were confident they were correct. Interview after the experiment showed that some participants thought that they were wrong and doubted their judgement and some just wanted to be liked by the majority.
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths: Lab experiment so high control.
          • Weaknesses: Lacks ecological validity and only male participants. The study was done in a time where people who thought differently were hated.
    • Sherif (35) Informational Social Influence
      • Procedure
        • Used a Lab experiment. Used autokinetic effect (small spot of light projected on screen) in a dark room will appear to move. He put 2 people with close answers and 1 person with a very different answer in a group.
      • Aim
        • Sherif Conducted an experiment with the aim of demonstrating that people conform to the group norm when put into ambiguous situations
      • Findings
        • When individually tested the answers varied. He found that in groups the group converged to a common estimate. The participant who answered the most different conformed to the view of the others.
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths: There was no right or wrong answers, and sherif told them he was going to move the light so they were likely to change their minds anyway. It was a lab experiment so there was high control.
          • Weaknesses: The group was 3 people and this may not be considered as a group that is capable of majority conformity. Lacks Ecological Validity.
    • Crutchfield (55) Informational Social Influence
      • Procedure
        • Participants sat individually in booths with a row of switches and lights in front of them and they had to press the switch which corresponded to their judgement when their turn came to answer, participants were told that the lights on the display panel showed the other respondents answers however it was in fact the experimenter controlling the lights
      • FIndings
        • Conformity levels were 30% when using Asch type tasks. When the task level increased so did conformity.
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths: Cause and effect can be established because it shows social pressure effects conformity, supported by Asch study. Internal Validity.
          • Weaknesses: Participant were military based and so not a representation of the population. Participants were deceived. Lacks ecological validity.
      • Aim
        • To determine levels of conformity with other people not present
    • Zimbardo (73) Conformity
      • Findings
        • The experiment had to be terminated within 6 days because many prisoners had a breakdown. This is said to have been down to loss of identity, humiliation, emasculation, dependency and helplessness. Guards had 'pathology of power' they would do things they would never have done if they were not masked, the loss of identification of them made it so they could be as brutal as they could and not feel empathy or sympathy or remorse.
      • Procedure
        • 22 males were randomly allocated guard or prisoner and were taken to a part of the university that had been converted into a fake prison. The sample was from mainly white Caucasian middle class college students and were volunteers. Guards and prisoners had their own get up and props to suit their role. Prisoners were actually arrested on the Sunday before the experiment. Guards were given no real instructions besides to keep order without using physical violence.
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths: Practical applications, explains why this happened in wars. Information justifies ethical issues. Proves it was station and not disposition of the people that brought on negative behavior.
          • Weakness: Ethical issues (protection, deception, withdrawal, staying anonymous. Lab experiment so lacks ecological validity... to an extent. Sample of people cant be representative of the population and participant bias due to volunteer sample.
      • Aim
        • To demonstrate the situational rather than disposition causes of negative behavior of a character when subjects were allocated the role of guard or prisoner.

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