Asch Core Study - Everything You Need To Know

this is the whole study - set out like an answer plans hope its good!

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Core Studies
Asch study (1995) on `Opinions and Social Pressure'
Aims & Context
Asch was a student's of sheriff's and was dissatisfied with his experiment.
Sheriff's study was based on the autokenetic effect ­ the experiment consisted of
shining a stationary beam of light into a dark room and asking the participants to
estimate how far it had moved (it hadn't actually moved it only appeared to), he ten
put them in groups of 3 and asked them to shout out their estimate. ­ When in
groups their answers seem to be similar although they had not been asked to find an
average ­ they had formed a group norm.
Sheriff then stated he had shown conformity.
Asch was dissatisfied with this as he thought it was an ambiguous task which had no
right and wrong answer and had many other interpretations. He also thought that
sheriff only showed conformity due to informational social influence.
Asch aimed to create an unambiguous situation to test conformity due to normative
social influence.
There were 123 male college students used
They were shown 2 cards. On one card there was 1 single line (standard line). On the
other card there were 3 lines (comparison lines) all of different lengths they had to
match the single line to one of the lines on the other card.
They were tested in groups of 7. They were asked to state aloud which comparison
line matched the standard line.
There was only 1 naive participant in each group the others were confederates.
The naive participant sat 2nd from the last ­ so that he actually wasn't the last but
still had listened to all the others say their answers.
There were 18 trials altogether. 12/18 trials were `critical' trials, these were the ones
where the confederates said the wrong answer on purpose.
This was done in a controlled conditions
After completing the trials Asch revealed the true nature of the study. He
interviewed the naive participant about their responses and behaviour.
Asch used other variations to discover the effect on certain factors on conformity
levels these were:
The size of the group, a truthful partner, a dissenting inaccurate partner, a
partner who changes his mind, a partner who leaves.

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Findings and Conclusions
When faced with unanimous (purposely) wrong answers from the confederates, the
naive participants also gave the wrong answer 36.8% of the time ­ this was on the
critical trials.
Just to confirm that the lines were unambiguous ­ Asch conducted a control trial
with no confederates giving the wrong answer.
In the control trial Asch found that less than 1% of the time people made mistakes.
25% of the participants never gave the wrong answer which meant they never
conformed.…read more

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Perrin and Spencer repeated Asch study again in Britain in the 1960's and
found that 1/396 critical trials resulted in conformity.
Ethical Issues ­
Deception was necessary to do in this research.
Participants were fully debriefed and most reported positive feelings towards
the study
The psychological harm demonstrates the power of social influence ­ people
will often conform even when they feel anxious doing so
Deception ­ lied about the nature of the task he withheld information about
the others being confederates.…read more

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They then put them into groups
of 3 and asked them to shout aloud their estimated. They all said similar answers
although they weren't asked to come up with an average ­ they came up with a
group of norm. This supports Asch's study as it shows how people conform when
they're in a group. This is also supports Asch's study as one of the complaints was
they were all strangers so it didn't reflect real life.…read more

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For example, there was
higher conformity in Japan than in France. Common experiences among participants
(for example members of the same sports club) showed high levels of conformity to
their group. Students generally showed lower levels of conformity. This study
contradicts Asch's study about conformity as it shows that Asch was wrong to
generalise that all cultures are the same. Asch's' study only used Americans which are
and individualist culture, which means everyone's solo social status was important
rather than as a groups social status.…read more


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