Asch and majority influence

notes on majority influence

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Conformity to majority influence
Kelman et al- types of conformity
Compliance-going along with others to gain approval
Internalisation-going along because you accept their view as its consistent with your
own
Identification- going along because you accept their view and wont to be like them.
Majority influence-Asch
Asked 123 male students
`vision test'
1 participant was real, the rest were confederates.
They were actually testing to see the participant's reactions to the confederates.
Asked out of 3 lines which was the same as the standard line
This was an obvious task
The confederates gave the wrong answers and were seeing if the participants
conformed.
36.8% participants gave the wrong answer.
Why?
3 reasons of conformity:
1) Distortion of perception-saw the lines the same as the confederates.
2) Distortion of judgement- distorted their own accuracy, leading to questioning of the
answer.
3) Distortion of action- gave the wrong answer to avoid disapproval.
Variations
1. Difficulty- Asch made the difference between the lines smaller, so correct answer
was not obvious-levels of conformity increased
2. Size of majority- conformity was lower when it was 1 or 2 confederates, 3's the
magic number conformity rose to over 30%. It did not alter much bigger than that.
3. Unanimity of the group- participants were given an ally, either a participant or
confederate told to give the right answer. Conformity reduced to 5.5%. And when
P/confed gave a completely diff answer conformity dropped to 9%. Concluding
conformity is reduced when group consistency is broken.
AO2
Validity- it's a simple task, a more important task may have different results. As the answers
were out loud they wouldn't want to sound stupid. It only explains that one situation.
Ethics-
they were ticked, deception.
Fake participants, deception.
Did not get informed consent
But debriefed and gave right to withdraw.
1. Mccarthyism- don't want to be accused of communism
2. Gender bias-all men

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Cultural bias-america
4. Sample-students
Perrin and Spencer- repeated the study with engineering and science students in1970s
England. Only 1 conformed.
Used youths on probation and probation officers as confeds. Similar levels of
conformity to Asch. Conformity is higher when cost of unconformity is high.
Asch study would be a one off, as repeated studies showed different results
2/3 did not conform demonstrating independence in the face of the majority.
Smith and bond- compared cultures in a meta-analysis. Compared individualistic and
collectivist cultures.…read more

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