Asch study into conformity

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  • The Asch study
    • aim
      • to investigate conformity.
    • procedure
      • 123 american males undergraduates took part
      • each participant was in a room with 7 confederates
      • they were shown a card with a line on it, followed by another card with 3 lines on it
      • they were asked aloud to say which line matched the line on the first card
      • the group was set in a way so that the naive participant was second to last or last
      • at first the confederates gave the correct answers until the third trial
      • by the 3rd trial the confederates all gave the wrong answer, so naive the participant was in a dilemma
    • results
      • participants conformed to the wrong answer 36.8% of the critical trials
      • 75% conformed at least once to the wrong answer
      • in controlled conditions only 1% of answers were incorrect
    • variables affecting conformity
      • made increasingly difficult
        • difference between line lengths smaller
        • conformity increased
      • private response
        • if naive participant could give answer in private conformity dropped to nearly nothing
          • there was NO normative pressure
      • unanimity of the majority
        • had a big effect
        • when there was another person giving a different answer to confederates
        • conformity dropped to 5%
          • influential majority has to be everyone

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