Asch's line task, outline and evaluate

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  • Ashc's study into conformity- line task
    • 123 American male under-graduates
      • completed a matched pairs task, 1 naive participant, 6 confederates
        • confederates were told to give the wrong answers on 12/18 trials
        • had to state the correct comparison line, answers were unambiguous
    • findings
      • conformity occured 37% of the time
      • 75% of participants conformed at least once
      • 25% didn't conform at all
      • p's were interviewed and said they conformed out of fear of rejection
    • variations
      • 1. group size
        • a small majority is not sufficient enough for influence to be exerted.
        • likewise, there is no need for a bigger majority
          • Normative social influence
      • 2. unanimity
        • breaking the unanimity and adding social support will decrease conformity
          • the influence of the majority depends to some extent of the group being unanimous
            • normative social influence
      • 3. task difficulty
        • By making the stimulus and comparison lines more similar, conformity would increase
          • situation is more ambiguous so we are more likely to look to others for guidance
            • informational social influence
    • evaluation
      • Ethnocentric
        • study only completed on Americans
        • difficult to generalise results to other cultures
        • ignorant of cultures establishing social norms
      • individual differences
        • some people may be more conformist than others, e.g students in Perrin and Spencer's study
          • e.g people with an internal locus of control.
        • Asch hasn't developed an explanation for conformity in different people
      • lab experiments
        • Asch controlled for extraneous variables in his study
          • high in reliability
        • created an artificial situation, lacks ecological validity, can't be applied to natural situations
      • Androcentric
        • Asch only experimented on men
          • difficult to generalise results to women, who may act differently in this situation e.g conform more


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