Asch's Conformity study

Asch's Conformity study


  • Artificial situation of lab experiment resulted in reliable data as the extraneous variables such as participant variable e.g. age was easy to control
  • Reliable data suggests the study can be carried out by another researcher which can lead to data to be compared which results in patterns and trends that can tell us about how conformity changes within time and situation


  • 'A child of its time' = in 1950s conformity was high due to the Cold War Era
  • Perrin & Spencer (1980) carried out Asch's conformity study with UK students, and only 1 in 396 students conformed to majority suggesting conformity is not consistent across situation and time
  • There are cultural differences in conformity as USA is an individualistic culture, whereas China and Africa have collective culture suggesting conformity would further increase
  • Williams & Sogon (1984) carried out Asch's conformity study with groups of strangers and friends, they found out conformity increases with friends due to the desire to fit in
  • The artificial situation of lab experiments lacked ecological validity as it increased demand characteristics as the participant may have worked out why the other confederate participants continuously lied about the answer
  • The artificial situation of lab experiment also led to lack of mundane realism as the task did not reflect everyday life as well as the groups thus being unable to generalise to naturally occurring groups and tasks
  • There was ethical issues such as deception as the participants were deceived about the other confederate participant which may have led to embarrassment
  • The sample was androcentric as it was all male participants thus not representative of whole population as the data cannot be generalised to females as it is known women conform more than men


The advantage and disadvantage of Asch's study is the evaluation.


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