Asch - Jenness
Conformity can be defined as a change in belief and behaviour is response to group pressure it's important for psychologist to understand as it is thought to have a significant impact on many of our behaviour and the decisions we make in different situations, for example the decision making of juries.
Jenness asked individuals to estimate the number of beans in a jar then asked students to arrive in groups and estimate in groups when he asked them to make another individual estimate he found that their individual group estimation shifted more towards the group.
Asch - Sherif
Reported research which used the auto-kinetic effect - this is where a stationary spot of light projected on to a screen appears to move in an otherwise dark room. Sherif told participants that he was going to move the light and they were to estimate by how far they spot of light moved. All participants were initially tested individually, however they were then exposed to the estimates of two other participants and Sherif found that when exposed to other participants estimates the individual estimates tended to converge to a group norm which was an average of these individual estimates.
However, Asch felt that Jenness and Sherif did not really test conformity because their research did not put participants under group pressure to conform to an answer that was clearly wrong.
In contrast to Jenness and Sherif, Asch aimed to investigate the effects of group pressure on individuals when confronted with an obviously incorrect answer. Will individuals conform to the group and give an obviously incorrect answer or will they give an independent response?