Psychologists studies in Social Psychology

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Asch experiments

  • Students put in groups, asked to match 2 set of lines on cards. Members were confederates, real either 2nd last or last. Confeds all gave same answer, some deliberatly wrong. 37% tested conformed, 5% conformed on every trail and 25% didn't. 
  • People conformed even when knew they were wrong.

Later versions:

  • Size of confederates: Conformity increased strongly up to 3 people then stayed the same.
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Sherif experiments

  • Estimate how far spoy of light moved in dark room (optical illusion). Groups of 3, and repeated. Changed original answer when in group so they fitted in with others.
  • People conformed because unsure, looked for correct answer, more vunerable.

Rohrer created similar study, found when restested year later they still conformed to original group.

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Hogg and Turner experiments

  • Similar to ash's, participants heard others but was in private booth, could not see or hear them (Did not need group approval)
  • 1 Condition: Confederates friends.
  • 2 Condition: Confederates strangers.
  • Particpants only conformed when heard friends views. Friends were reference group even when private.
  • Lab experiment, adapted Asch's to fit group membership.

(All Asch, Sherif and Hogg/Turner):

+: Establishes cause and effect(manipulated IV), high levels of control(easy to measure conformity) and easy replication(Rohrer replicated year later sherif)

-: Lack ecological validity(too obvious, asch not like that in real life) and demand characteristics (participants aware, suspicious of set-up) DECEPTION!

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Milgram (1963)

  • Advert in local paper, 40 male. Arrived seperatly at Yale university, introduced confed. Participant was teacher, confed was learner. Electric shock given when answer was wrong, every time was wrong increase in volts (15-450). Screams and shout from learner pre-recorded, 300v demanded to leave/weak heart but prompts from experimenter gives pressure to paticipant to continue. All 40 went to 30v and 65% went to 450v. Shows people can do abnormal things when under pressure from authoritive figure.

Variations of study above and the percentage of 450v administered:

  • At a rundown office (48%)
  • Teacher orders over the phone (20%)
  • Confederate that disobeys orders (10%)
  • Teache in same room as confed.  (30%)
  • Forcing hand on shock plate (30%)
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Baumrind (1964)

Criticised Milgram:

  • Decieved the participants, did not inform them of the true nature.
  • Prevented from withdrawing
  • Put in stressful position, could harm emotionally

Milgram replied:

  • Gained presumptive consent asking psychologists and psychiatrists what would happen
  • People could withdraw, 35% didnt give full shocks
  • Debriefed participants, followed up 1000 with questionairre, employed psychiatrist checking for harm a year later
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Orne and Holland (1968)

Criticised Milgram:

  • participants didn't believe the shocks were real, woudl have worked out there was no need for them as experimenter could have done shocks themselves
  • participants realised that experiment was a set-up so gave shocks without caring

Milgram replied:

  • participants were fooled and believed shocks were real
  • showed footage of experiment showing extreme stress by sweating, stuttering and nervous laughter
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  • Policeman field experiment showed participants more likely to obey a uniformed guard than a civilian.
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  • Hospital experiment showed 21/22 nurses obeyed order given by Dr Smith and acted like agent carrying out the orders
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Avtgis (1998)

  • Found people with external locus of control easier to persuade, more likely to conform.
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Oliner and Oliner (1988)

  • Interviewed 406 germans who sheltered jews, scored high on social desirability and had an internal locus of control
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Williams and Warchal (1981)

  • Conformers less assertive but no difference in locus of control test to non-conformists.
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Elms and Milgram (1974)

  • Disobedient participants in Milgram studie had higher social desirability and internal locus of control score.
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Moscovici (1969)

  • 2 conditions in lab: 1,minority 2 people named blue green little effect on majority. 2,minority called all slides green and 10% changed in majority.
  • Shows importance of having consistent argument to change majority, such as the suffragettes
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Clark's (1998/9)

  • Mock jury study of 12 angry men film showed people change mind when they see others lean to minority view, the snowball effect. 
  • Used in civil rights movement-black people should be able to vote
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