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Variables affecting Conformity
Key study (Asch)
Aim: The purpose was to see how the lone `real' participant would react to the
behaviour of the confederates
Procedure: 123 male US undergraduates were tested, and asked to look at 3 different
lines all of different lengths, and had to match one of…

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rate for individualist's cultures was about 25%, whereas for collectivist cultures in Africa, Asia and South America
it was much higher at 37%.
Suggesting there are cultural differences in conformity.

Conformity to Social Roles
Key Study (Zimbardo) ­ Stanford Prison Experiment
Aim: to observe the interaction between the two groups…

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Zimbardo's study was considered ethical, because it followed the guidelines of the Stanford university ethics
committee that had approved it.

For example, no deception with all participants being told in advance that many of their usual rights would be
suspended. However, Zimbardo acknowledges that perhaps the study should have been…

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Findings: In the voice feedback study, 26 of the 40 participants (65%) continued to the maximum shock level, 450
volts. This is despite the shock generator being labelled `danger: severe shock' at 420 volts and `XXX' at 450 volts.
In fact all participants went to 300 volts with only five…

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Perry discovered that many of Milgram's participants had been sceptical at the time about whether the shocks
were real. One of Milgram's research assistant Taketo Murata had divided the participants into doubter and
believers. He found it was this latter group who were more likely to disobey the experimenter and…

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Although here are positive consequences of obedience to legitimate authority, it is also important to note that
legitimacy can serve as the basis for justifying the harming of others.

If people authorise another person to make judgements for them about what is appropriate conduct, they no
longer feel that their…

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differences in the characteristics of Authoritarian Personality and the characteristics of obedient participants.
For example, when Elms and Milgram asked participants about their upbringing, many of the fully obedient
participants reported having a very good relationship with their parents, rather than having a grown up in the
overly strict family…

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Social Support can be linked with the importance of response order

Researchers found that support was more effective when the confederates answered first instead of fourth

This suggests that when given the correct answer first it produced initial commitment for the real participant

Locus of Control

People differ in their…

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to judge the colour of the slides, two confederates called out green on two thirds of the slides. In a controlled
condition, compromising six naive participants and no confederates. Participant called the slides blue

Findings: Showed that the consistent minority influenced the naïve participant to say green on over…

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Nemeth argues that dissent, in the form of minority `opens' the mind, allowing people to be more creative
This view is supported by the work of can dyne and Saavedra who studied the role of dissent in work groups,
finding that groups had improved decision quality when exposed to minority…


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