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
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
36.8% participants gave the wrong answer.
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
3) Distortion of action- gave the wrong answer to avoid disapproval.
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.
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.
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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