Conformity

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Asch's Research Outline

Aim- To observe how people behave when given an unambiguous task, and see whether they would be influenced by others or if they would stick to what they know

Procedure:

  • 123 undergraduate male students in groups of seven, in a laboratory situation, were shown a standard line and three comparison lines
  • Participant's, in turn, said out loud which comparison line was the same length as the standard line
  •   Only one of the seven was a real participant and the rest were confederates who gave wrong answers to 12 out of the 18 trials.

Findings-:

  • Naive participants conformed on 36.8% of the trials 
  • 25% never conformed

Variations:

  • Conformity increased up to a group size of 4
  • Dissenter reduced conformity
  • Conformity increased when task was harder
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Evaluation for Asch

A Child of it's Time

Perrin and Spencer found less conformity in 1980 than 1950's

Artificial Situation and Task

Demand characteristics meant participants just played along with trivial tasks

Limited Application of Findings

Asch's research was only conducted on American men

Evaluation Extra

Findings only apply to certain situations

Ethical issues such as deception and possible psychological harm arise

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