Asch's Research

Asch's Research Procedure -Confederates deliberately gave the wrong answers to see if the participants would conform. They had a standard line.Participants were asked to identify the line which was identical to the standard line. There were seven other confederates and the participant would either sit last/second to last. 123 American male undergraduate students were tested. All confederates were instructed to give the same incorrect answer in 12/18 critical trials.

Findings - in the 12 critical trials 32% conformed to the unanimous correct answer, 75% conformed at least once, 25% NEVER conformed, 38.6% of the time they gave the wrong answer

Variations -When placed in smaller groups of three conformity increased 31.8%, Unanimity reduced conformity due to one person giving a different answer they became more independent(Reduced by 1/4), Conformity increased when task was harder.

Evaluation Child of it's time - Perrin and Spencer found less conformity in the 1980's than in the 1950's 

Artificial Situation and Task - Demand characteristics meant participants just played along with trivial task. 

Limited application of findings - Asch's research only conducted on American men.

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Conformity to social roles: Zimbardo's Research,

Zimbardo's Research The Stanford Prison Experiment: Procedure - 12 students who are considered "Emotionally stable" got selected out of the volunteers to take part in the experiment. They were randomly selected to become Guards and Prisoners. To make it realistic the prisoner's were arrested at their homes and taken into custody to get booked, stripped searched and stripped of their identity and given prison numbers to go by. Meanwhile the guard's were given whistles, handcuffs, clubs and reflective sunglasses (seen as a mask). The guards got told that they have complete control over the prisoners.

Findings- Guards became increasingly brutal towards the prisoners abusing their power meanwhile the prisoners became increasingly depressed. Due to prisoners having mental breakdowns the study stopped after the 6th day instead of lasting for 14. After two days the prisoners rebelled and the guards used a 'divide and rule' technique to ensure they kept control.

conclusion- Participants conformed to the rules given to them (as guards/prisoners)

Evalutaions Control- Random assignment to roles increased internal validity

Lack of realism- Participants were play-acting the roles according to media-derived stereotypes

Ethical Issues- The prisoners left the study emotionally and mentally scared

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Conformity Types

Types of Conformity (Herbert Kelman, 1958)Internalisation - Private and public acceptance of group norm's, therefore, the behaviour and opinions continue when the group isn't there.

Identification - Change behaviour to be part of a group we identify with.

Compliance - Go along with the group publicly but no private change. Behaviour/Opinions stops when the pressure stops.

Explanations Of Conformity-(Deutsch&Gerard, 1955)Informative SocialInfluence(ISI)- Conform to be right. Assume others know better than us.

Normative Social Influence(NSI)- Conform to be liked or accepted by group

Evaluation-Research support for ISI - Increases in conformity when the math questions became more difficult to answer(Lucas et al 2006)

Individual differences in NSI- doesn't affect everyone the same way. Asch (1955) found that students were less likely to conform (28%) in comparison to other participants(37%).

Support for NSI- Asch found that many of his participants went along with a clearly wrong answer because other people did so and they wanted acceptance. some even went to say they felt self-conscious.

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Obedience: Milgram's Research

Milgram's Original Obedience Study: Procedure-  Participants gave fake electric shocks to a 'learner' in an obedience to instructions from the 'experimenter'. 40 Male participants recruited through a newspaper ad(Volunteered), ages between 20-50, jobs ranged from unskilled to professional and were offered£4.50 to take part. Lab experiment and a confederate always played the learner as the draw was rigged, the experimenter was also a confederate.When participant refuses to give electric shock the experimenter gave prods e.g. 'Please continue'

Findings - 65% gave the highest shock of 450v, 100% gave shocks up to 300v, many showed signs of anxiety

Evaluations: Low Internal Validity- Participants realised shocks were fake,But replications with real shocks got similar results.

Good external Validity- Findings generalise to other situations such as hospital wards. Nurses listening to Dr's instructions.

Supporting replication- Game of death found that 80% gave maximum shocks, plus similar behaviour to those who participated in Milgram's study.

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Obedience: Situational Variables

Obedience:Situational Variable:Proximity- Obedience decreased to 40% when teacher could hear learner and to 30% in touch proximity conditions (Base Line 65%) 

Location- Obedience decreased to 47.5% when study was moved to run-down office

Uniform- Obedience decreased to 20% when 'member of the public' was the experimenter 

Evaluation:Research Support-  Bickman showed the power of uniform in a field experiment in NY confederates dressed in suit&tie, Milkman and security guard attire asked members of the public to do certain acts more people did as the security said.

Lack of internal validity-  Some of Milgram's procedures contrived, so not genuine obedience (Orne and Holland). Participants figured out the aims so they're not sure whether the results are manipulated by these factors

Cross-cultural replications-  (Smith and Bond) Cross-cultural findings support Milgram. But almost all studies in similar cultures to the USA so not very generalizable (Western Cultures not Japan/Jamaica/Ghana e.c.t)

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Obedience: Social-Psychological Factors

Obedience: Social-Psychological Factors

Agentic State- Acting as an agent of another

Autonomous State- Acting in independence (according to conscience) switching between the two is an Agentic shift.

Binding Factors- Allow individuals to ignore the damaging effects of their obedient behaviour putting the blame on either the victim or the superior person.

Evaluation: Research support- Blass and Schmitt found that people do blame the legitimate authority for the participants behaviour.

A Limitied explination- Cannot explain why some of Milgram's participants disobeyed or the lack of social strain in Hofing et Al's nurses.

Legitimacy of Authority- Created by hierarchical nature of society. Granted power to punish others. e.g. Parents, Teachers, Police.

Distructive Authority- problems arise e.g. Hitler

Evaluation: Cultural difference- Explains obedience in different cultures because reflects different socail heirarchies


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Obedience: Dispositional Explinations

The Authoritarian Personality: Procedure- Adorno Et Al (1950). used F-Scale (Fascist Scale) to study the unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups. 2000 middle class white American males took part in the study.

Findings- People with authoritarian personalities identify with the 'strong' and have a fixed cognitive style.

Authoritarian Characteristics- Extreme respect for authority and obedience to it

Origin of the authoritarian personality- Harsh Parenting creates hostility that cannot be expressed against parents so is displaced

Evaluation: research Support-Some of Milgram's obedient participants had authoritarian personalities (Elms, 1966) conducted interviews with participants who were fully obedient and they scored high on the F-scale. show's correlation between the two variables(Authoritarian personality&Obedience)  

Limited explanation- can't explain the increase in obedience across a whole culture. A better explanation is social identity theory. e.g. pre-war Germany the citizens had different personalities, however, all took part in the anti-semitic Nazi regime. 

Political Biased- Equates authoritarian personality with right-winged ideology and ignores the extreme left-wing authoritarianism. 

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Resistance To Social Influence

Social Support: Conformity- Reduced by the present of dissenters from the group.

Obedience- Decreases in the presence of disobedient peer who acts as a model for them to follow.One of Milgram's study obedience dropped from 65% to 10% due to a disobedient peer.

Evaluation: Research Support- Conformity decreases when one person dissents even if they are not credible (Asch)

Research Support- Obedience drops when disobedient role models are present (Gamson et al) as they were in groups higher levels of disobedience occurred when told they had to produce evidence to help an oil company run a smear campaign. 88% of participants rebelled. 

Locus Of Control (LOC): LOC- is the sense of what directs events in our lives (Rotter)

Continuum- High internal at one end(Blames themselves) and Low external(Blames everyone/Everything else) at the other. 

Resistance to social influence- People with High internal LOC are more able to resist pressures to conform or obey.

Evaluation:Research Support- Internals are less likely to fully obey in Milgram-type procedure. 37% of internals didn't continue to the highest shock level while 23% of externals didn't continue (Holland)

Contradictory Research-People have become more external and more disobedient recently (Twenge et al) Hard for LOC to explain. They did a Meta-analysis from American data over a 40 year period (1960-2002).

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Minority Influence

Minority Influence: Consistency- If the minority group is consistent it attracts the attention of the majority over time (Synchronic Consistency- they're all saying the same thing, Diachronic consistency- they've been saying the same thing for some time now)

Commitment- Personal sacrifices show commitment and it attracts attention (Augmentation principle) 

Flexibility- Minority more convincing if they accept some counter-arguments 

The process of change - All of the above make the majority think more deeply about the issue and the snowball effect occurs meaning they gather momentum until they become the majority.

Evaluation: Research support for consistency- Moscovici's Blue-Green slides, in group of 6 there were 2 confederates, 36 blue coloured slides which varied in intensity, asked to state whether they are blue/green, Confederates said 2/3 were green.32% gave the same answer as the minority on one trial. 

Research support for depth of, though- Minority views have longer effect because they are deeply processed (Internalised)

Artificial Tasks- Tasks often trivial so tell us little about real-life influence

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Social Influence and social change

Social Change: The special role of minority influence- Minority influence is a powerful force for innovation and social change. e.g. Civil Rights movement in the USA

Lessons from conformity research- Normative social influence can lead to social changed by drawing attention to what majority is doing

Lessons from obedience research- Disobedient role models. Gradual commitment is how obedience can lead to change. 

Evaluation: Research support- NSI valid explanation of social change e.g. reducing energy consumption (Nolan et al)

Only indirectly effective- Effects of minority influence are limited because they are indirect and appear later (Nemeth). Majority are influenced on matters only related to the issue and not the central issue itself causing it to be indirect.

The role of deeper processing- it is majority views that are processed more deeply (conformity) than minority views, challenging central feature of minority influence. They involve different cognitive processes.

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