conformity 1-4

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outline and evaluate variations of Asch

AO3 weakness

  • P: Asch's research is oversimplified
  • did not take into account cultural differences in conformity
  • E: Smith and Bond (2006) meta-analysis
  • 133 Asch type studies across 17 countries
  • individualist cultures- 25%, collectivist cultures- 37%
  • Markus and Kitayama (1991) conformity is viewed more favourably in collectivist cultures
  • C1: reduces the external reliabilty of the study
  • sample only consists of male US undergraduates
  • C2: this means that Asch did not take into account the variable of culture
  • reduces generalisability of results for conformity in other cultures
  • could suggest that Asch measured cultural differences rather than conformity
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outline and evaluate Milgram

situational factors in obedience

proximity

  • teacher and learner in same room- obedience level fell to 40%
  • experimenter absent- obedience level fell to 21%

location

  • lab in Yale university- gave participants confidence in integrity of the people involved
  • moved to a run-down office- obedience level dropped to 48%

uniform

  • Bushman (1988):
  • female researcher stopped people in the street and asked them to give money to a male researcher for a parking meter
  • female researcher dressed in police uniform (72%), business executive (48%), beggar (52%)
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outline and evaluate variations of Asch

AO1

Asch (1956):

  • 123 male US undergraduates (volunteers)
  • all participants were confederates except one
  • asked to identify matching line lengths
  • conformity was measured on 12 critical trials where all confederates gave the same wrong answer
  • average conformity rate was 33%
  • less than 1% of participants gave a wrong answer in control situation with no confederates
  • majority of participants conformed to avoid disapproval, but did not believe it was the correct answer
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outline and evaluate variations of Asch

AO3 strength

  • P: a strength of Asch's study is that the methodology used a non-ambiguous situation to prove conformity
  • E: the critical trials had right or wrong answers
  • confederates would either answer with the right answer or a wrong answer
  • participants would either get the answer right or conform and get the answer wrong
  • conformity could be proven as less than 1% of answers given in control situations were wrong
  • C1: this shows that Asch's study was internally valid
  • it suggests that conformity was the only reason for wrong answers given by participants
  • C2: this means that Asch's study can be used to prove the validity of conformity through normative social influence
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outline and evaluate explanations of conformity

AO1

conformity can be shown through two explanations;

normative social influence:

  • individuals conform with the expectations of the majority
  • gain approval or avoid social disapproval
  • usually compliance; only conform publicly and not privately

informational social influence:

  • individuals conform as a result of a desire to be right
  • they look to others to gain information or evidence about reality
  • more likely when the situation is ambiguous
  • an example of internalisation as they believe the others are correct
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outline and evaluate Zimbardo

AO1

Haney et al. (1973):

  • prison set up in Stanford university, CA
  • 24 male student volunteers assigned randomly the role of guard or prisoner
  • both given uniforms for their role
  • Zimbardo as prison superintendent
  • some guards became increasingly sadistic and abusive towards prisoners
  • most prisoners became increasingly passive
  • some prisoners started to rebel
  • conformed to their roles even when they were unaware of being watched
  • 5 prisoners were released throughout the study
  • both guards and prisoners conformed to their social roles
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outline and evaluate Milgram

AO1

Milgram (1963):

  • controlled observation
  • situational variable affecting obedience
  • 40 participants at a time (volunteers)
  • two confederates- experimenter and 'learner' (47 year old man)
  • participant believed they were randomly chosen as teacher
  • teacher tested learner on his ability to remember word pairs
  • teacher gave learner a shock for every wrong answer increasing by 15 volts each time
  • learner banged on the wall and did not respond after 300 volts
  • experimenter encouraged teacher to go on if they asked to stop the experiment
  • 65% of participants continued all the way to 450 volts
  • all participants continued to 300 volts; 12.5% of participants stopped there
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outline and evaluate Zimbardo

AO3 strength

  • P: a strength of the research is that Zimbardo meticulously planned his research to ensure maximum controls were in place
  • E: uniforms were given to both guards and prisoners
  • loss of individual identity
  • makes prison setting more realistic
  • participants were physically and psychologically screened before the experiment
  • reduces individual differences
  • makes it easier to randomly assign roles
  • C1: this shows that the research has high internal validity
  • easy to identify that the reason for their conformity was the institution
  • C2: this means that the theory of conformity is valid
  • the experiment can be used to support the theory
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outline and evaluate Zimbardo

AO3 weakness

  • P: Zimbardo's research can be argued to be very controversial
  • E: ethical issue of lack of protection from harm
  • Zimbardo's dual role as prison superintendent meant that there was not a researcher who was able to protect the participants
  • ethical issue of right to withdraw
  • through Zimbardo's role as prison superintendent, participants were made to feel as if they could not leave
  • C1: this shows that the results of the experiment are unreliable
  • the experiment cannot be ethically repeated to be proven as reliable
  • C2: this increases reliability of the theory of conformity
  • ethical issues like those in the experiment are likely to occur in real life
  • this means that the experiment is more ecologically valid
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outline and evaluate Milgram

AO3 strength

  • P: a strength of Milgram's observation is that he conducted variations of the study to show situational factors in obedience
  • E: Milgram studied proximity, location and uniform
  • Bushman (1988) found a higher level of conformity (72%) to a researcher dressed as a police officer
  • Blass (1999) studied nine other replications of Milgram's study which had male and female participantseight out of nine found no evidence of gender difference, consistent with the findings of Milgram's study with female participants
  • C1: this increases the reliability of the study
  • there is supporting evidence for more than one situation
  • C2: this increases the overall ecological validity of obedience
  • can be applied to real life
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outline and evaluate variations of Asch

variables affecting conformity

group size:

  • very little conformity when majority consisted of just one or two confederates
  • conformity rose to 30% with a majority of three confederates
  • further increases did not increase conformity significantly

unanimity of the majority:

  • conformity dropped to 5.5% when participant had support for the correct answer
  • conformity dropped to 9% when unanimity was broken with a different incorrect answer

difficulty of the task:

  • conformity increased when the correct answer was made less obvious
  • Lucas et al. (2006) found that the influence of task difficulty is moderated by the self-efficacy of the individual
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outline and evaluate Milgram

AO3 weakness

  • P: a weakness of Milgram's observation is the lack of realism in the situation
  • E: Orne and Holland (1968) suggests that participants in psychological studies have learned to distrust the experimenter about the aim of the study
  • a demand characteristic in Milgram's study is the calm reaction from the experimenter, leading participants to believe that the shocks must not be real
  • C1: this means that the observation is less internally valid
  • results from participants who were 'doubters' (Taketo Murata) cannot be used to show conformity
  • C2: this suggests that Milgram's study shows obedience to an experimenter rather than showing conformity in general
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