studies on confimity

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factors affecting obedience- milgram's replication

  • He changed the setting from yale university to a office above the shop. Replicated the experiement exactly but only 48% of participants continued to 450V.
  • He reduced the power of the experimenter by removing from the room and intrusting him to give orders over the phone. 20% going to 450V. he also asked teachers to work in pairs to administer shocks, the second teacher was a confederate who refused to continue to give the shocks. 10% went to 450V.
  • Milgram altered the proximity of teacher and learner. In one condition the learner and teacher were in the same room and in order for the learner to receive shocks they had to place his hand voluntarily on a shock plate. If they refused they were intructed to force the learners hand to the shock plate. Only 30% went to 450v.
  • highest conformity rates were in Spain and the Netherlands 90%. lowest rates in Australia 16% of female and 40% men administered the highest levels of shocks. 
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obedience with field experiments

Hofling 1966- looked at  22 nurses working at different hospitals response to an order from a bogus doctor called "Dr smith" asking them to administer 20 milligrams a drugs called "astroten" to a patient. this order broke several hospital rules:

  • nurses shouldn't take orders over the phone
  • nurses shouldn't take orders from an unknown doctor
  • the dosage instructed was twice the maximum dosage on the bottle
  • the drug was fictional
  • 21 out of the 22 nurses were prepared to obey but were stopped by a confederate on the way. 
  • afterwards they were debriefed and many nurses argued that an order of that nature wasn't unusual and obedience was expected
  • field experiment means that less chances of DC and high ecological validity
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criticism of hofling- threats to it's validity

Rank and Jacobson 1977

  • the drug was fictional and it was unlikely that experienced nurses would come across a drug they had not heard of.
  • nurses would usually know the name of the consultants working in the ward.
  • the nurses were phoned when they were alone on the ward. this would be unlikely as they would usually be working with at least one other colleague and discuss the order.

taking this into account they conducted their own experiment but changing 3 things

  • a real drug called vallium, a real doctor who worked in the ward and gave order over the phone and where able to consult with fellow workers
  • under these conditions obedience fell by 1/18.
  • this study shows that we need to be carefully when interpreting hofling's results due to the lack of ecological validity.
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compliance- majority influence, ASCH 1951

He recruited 123 male students and asked them to take part in a task of visual perception. they were placed in groups of 7 and 9 and seated around a large table. the experimenter showed them 2 cards, one standard line and the other showing three comparison lines. participants were asked which of the 3 lines A,B OR C matched the standard line- to which there was an easy and obvious ans. there were 18 trials for each group. Asch used confederates who were told to say the wrong ans in 12 of the 18 trials. the real participant was sat second to last on the table so they were exposed to the same wrong ans repeatedly before giving their view.

  • overall conformity rate of 37%
  • 5% of each participant conformed on every critical trial
  • 25% remained independent in their ans.
  • when he asked them why they conformed they said that they didn't want to stand out, some doubted their eyes
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issues with Asch's experiment

  • because of the use of confederates to manipulate social pressure, the research can establish cause and effect.
  • lacks validity because in real life conformity it wouldn't be with a group of strangers but ppl u know.
  • cultural relativity of the 1950's america
  • no informed consent as it may have changed the results of the study
  • participants experienced stress and temporary discomfort
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the size of the majority replication of asch's stu

  • 3% when there was there was one confederate and one real participant
  • when the group was increased to 3 confederates and one participants-33% conformed
  • a greater majority of 15 participants led to lower levels of conformity as participants become suspicious.
  • conformity seems to be at its maximum with 3 to 5 majority
  • one confederate was told to agree with a participant conformity dropped dramatically- ppl r able to stay independent in a group when they have support from even one person
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minority influence by moscovici-1969

  • A group of 6, including 4 real and 2 confederates participants were shown 36 slides of different shades of blue asking the confederates to say it's green.
  • in one condition confederates called all the 36 slides green- 8% of confederates changed to the minority position
  • in the second condition the suds called 24/36 green, only 1.25% of participants moved to the minority.
  • minorities need to be consistent in order to exert an influence
  • lacks ecological validity- participants r aware that they r being studied-demand characteristics 
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minority influence and internalisation- Clark 98/9

Clark carried out a study using the 1954 film 12 angry men in which a single juror believes that a defendant is innocent of killing his father and tryies to convince the rest of the jury. participants were given a booklet of the summary of the film and asked to role play as jurors.

  • he wanted to see if the minority could exert influence over the majority if they were persuasive in their arguments and if they could influence the majority through changes in behaviour, through seeing other ppl change their view can have an effect on the individual own beliefs. 
  • using 220 psychology students ,129 women and 91 men. in their booklet it had evidence of the defendant guilt- he had purchased and used a rare knife from a local store, he had been heard by an old man saying im going to kill you and been identified by a woman saying that he was the murderer.
  • he found that a minority only led ppl to change their mind if they could provide counter arguments.
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Clark 2

  • in the 2nd study Clark tests that impact of behaviour leading ppl to defect into the minority position
  • the students were given da following info: that HF had been able produce an identical 'rare' knife in court from a nearby junk shop, da old man couldn't have been him as he is disabled and old and it would hv took him long to get to da window. da woman had very bad eyesight n wasn't wearin glasses.
  • students were asked to use a 9 point scale to give their opinion. when they heard that 4 or 7 juror had changed their mind to the minority position they were more likely to change their mind. 7 defectors had no more influence than 4- a ceiling of influence is reached.
  • the task is realistic situation in which social influence occurs
  • the cost of making a mistake is lower than in real life therefore how far can we this results be generalised to a real life situation
  • role play is much more ethically acceptable than other experiment that involve stress and deception
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the power of uniform

Bickman 1974- carried out a field experiment in New York asking passers by to carry out an unusual order e.g. pick up money or lend money to a stranger for a parking meter. Half the time the experimenter was dressed in a security guard uniform and the rest of the time in street clothes. The 2 conditions were the IV. He found out that 92% conformed compared to only 49% when he was wearing street clothing.

Bushman 1988- confederate dressed in one of two ways – uniforms or smart clothes. The confederate was ordered to give passers by a small amount of change to a motorist for money at the parking meter. Bushman found that 70% complied when she was uniformed and only 58% when she was in smart clothing. This difference is rather less than that found by bickman.

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