ASCH AIMS & CONTEXT
aimed to investigate the effects of group pressure on individuals in umambiguous situations. He wanted to find out if individuals would give an obviously wrong answer when under social pressure. Asch also aimed to find out whether the size of the majority was important.
Jenness(1932) looked at the way people in groups formed their own opinions..Guessing how many jelly beans were in the jar, opinions changed after dicussion with the rest of the group.
Sherif(1935) similar investigation into responses to an ambiguous stimulus, spotlight projected onto screen, estimated movement, opinions changed after discussion with the rest of the group.
- 123 us student volunteers from 3 different colleges for a 'vision' test
- one naive participant in a group of 6-8 confederates
- naive participant always seated last
- two large cards, one with a stanard line, the other with three lines of different lengths
- asked which line matched the standard line
- confederates gave the same incorrect answer on 12/18 trials with each participant
- asch then debreifed the naive participants about their responces and behaviour
- size - group varied from 1-15 people
- truthful partner - another person was truthful
- dissenting/innacurate partner - gave other wrong answer
- partner changed his mind - gave 6 correct responces, joined majority on the other 6
- partner who left - 6 truthful trials, left for a good reason afterwards
ASCH FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
- naive participants gave wrong answer 36.8% of the time
- 25% of the participants never gave a wrong answer
- 75% conformed at least once
- having one confederate had very little effect.
- truthful partner reduced conformity to 25%
- dissenting partner reduced conformity to a quater of the baseline study (6%)
- suprisingly strong tendancy to conform to group pressures in a situation where answer is obvs
- factors such as the size of the majority, presence of dissenter effects conformity
- people do resist conformity, on 2/3 of the trials the participants remained independant.
"we have found the tendancy to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern"
DESIGN- lab environment
ETHICS- active and passive deception, the naive participant may have found the experiece distressing, their judgement is wrong.
RELIABILITY- Larsen repeated Asch's research in 1974, he found the conformity levels were a lot lower than those found by Asch - lack of reliability
VALIDITY- task was a trivial one, people might behave differently when asked to conform on a more important task, participants didnt know confederates - conformity is higher if you now the people. the naive participants had too answer out loud - levels of conformity found to increase if answers are given privately.
SAMPLE - 123 sample of usa male volunteers
ASCH STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
STRENGTHS OF THE STUDY
- highly controlled
- varying experiments showed huge change in results due to one change
- pre-test showed 0.7% of wrong answers - shows conformity
WEAKNESSES OF THE STUDY
- low reliability- every replication brings different results
- ethical concerns - decieved
- internal validity - relied on stooges to convinve the participant
ASCH ALTERNATIVE EVIDENCE
Perrin and Spencer(1980)
- Repeated Asch's study in England in the 1970's-Found that only 1 student conformed on 396 trials
- Participants were science students = MORE confident about estimating line length - When youths on probation were used = HIGHER conformity
THIS STUDY CONTRADICTS ASCH'S because:
- The assumption was that people would conform to group norms, whatever the situation and whenever it happened.
- This study highlights an issue of population validity,because It is evident here that the study is era specific – a product of its time ands not necessarily relevant to society today.
- Have the cultural customs of the time (1950s) distorted the results of Asch’s original study?
- found that Women are more conformist
- Therefore in the experimental situation they have different short term goals and appear MORE conformist than men
THIS STUDY AGREES AND UNDERLINES ASCH'S BECAUSE:
The study underlines the importance of considering all issues in experimental/research design
Are women more conformist biologically OR is it an example of gender bias?
Burger and Cooper (1979)
- People who are high in desire for personal control (internals) = less likely to conform
- Participants asked to rate cartoons in terms of funniness
- Confederate sat beside them, stating his ratings out loud
- 'Externals' more likely to agree with confederate's ratings
THIS STUDY AGREES WITH ASCH'S STUDY:
- Develops furthur into the idea that we also need to take internal (cognitive) elements into account
Lalancette and Standing (1990)
- Found no conformity
- EVEN THOUGH they made the task more ambiguous (should increase conformity)
- They concluded that Asch's study appears to be an unpredictable phenomenon rather than a stable tendency of human behaviour
THIS STUDY CONTRADICTS Asch’s study particularly as the task became more ambiguous. Showed the Asch Effect was not a stable phenomenon.