Psychology unit 2 studies

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Asch (1951)

Aim: To see if people could be influenced by other people's opinions to give an answer they knew was wrong. Possible to see conformity.

Method: Pps shown sets of 4 lines. For each set, pps had to say whether A,B,C was same length as test line. When alone, pps rarely made mistakes. But also gave answers as part of group. Rest of group was told to give wrong answers for some tests.

Results: On 32% trials where group gave wrong answer, pps gave same wrong answer. 74% gave at least one wrong answer.

Conclusion: Reason behind this 32% error rate was hearing previous wrong answers. Those who gave incorrect answers told Asch they knew they were wrong but didn't want to go against the rest of the group. This demonstrates normative social influence.

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Milgram (1963)

AIM: See how far people would obey an unreasonable order.

METHOD: 40 male pps volunteered for what they thought was a memory/learning experiment. They had to give electric shock to learner for every wrong answer (not real). Pp who played as teacher didn't know as it was so convincing. Pp was seated in front of a 'shock generator' that had 30 switches marked from 15 to 450 volts. Learner remembered list of words, pp had to give shock that increased in severity w each mistake. Heard learner groan in pain/protest (recording). Learner fell silent. Pp wanted to stop but experimenter said "the experiement requires u continue"

RESULTS: Prior to experiment, Milgram asked psychiatrists how far pps would go. They said no more than 1% would deliver 450v. They all gave 300v and 65% went to 450v.

CONCLUSION: people are prepared to obey quite extraordinary orders if they think the person giving them is in a position of authority.

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Bickman (1974)

AIM: Wanted to know if people would be more likely to obey orders from someone in uniform.

METHOD: Actors dressed as either security guard or casual jacket. Asked people sitting in a park to pick up litter.

RESULTS: 80% obeyed 'guard'. 40% casual jacket.

CONCLUSION: wearing uniform increases sense of legit authority figure.

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Zimbardo (1969)

AIM: to see if people in big city behave more antisocially than small town.

METHOD: Parked car in each place w bonnet up as if broken down, then observed.

RESULTS: immediately in NYC, people stole parts and in 2 weeks there was very little left. Whereas in Palo Alto, the only time it was touched was when it rained and someone put the bonnet down to stop it getting wet.

CONCLUSION: Deindividuation caused by living in a big city leads to an increase in antisocial behaviour!

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Latane et al. (1979)

AIM: to see if being in a group affected how much effort pps put into task.

METHOD: 84 pps shout & clap as loudly as possible when alone or in groups of up to 6. Each pp wore headphones so couldn't hear others.

RESULTS: larger group = less noise made.

CONCLUSION: people put less effort into doing something when they know others are contributing to same task than when only one.

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Latane and Darley (1968)

AIM: see if people are less likely to react in emergency when others present.

METHOD: pps sat in room alone or in 3s when doing questionnaire. while pps did it, smoke poured into room.

RESULTS: 75% alone told someone within 6 mins. 38% in 3s.

CONCLUSION: if others are around you, it makes it less likely that you'll react in emergency.

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Piliavin (1972)

AIM: see if appearance influences helping behaviour

METHOD: actor collapsed in train. His appearance altered several times & amount of help was recorded by observer.

RESULTS: when 'victim' had walking stick, he got help within 70 secs 90% of time. With ugly facial scar, it dropped to 60%. When drunk, dropped to 20%.

CONCLUSION: appearance affects if helped/ how long it takes.

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Bandura et al. (1963)

AIM: To find out if 3-6 y/os would imitate aggressive behaviour they see role models doing at bobo doll.

METHOD: Researchers divided 96 kids into 4 groups, 3 which showed kicking, throwing n punching bobo doll. Their own behaviour was then observed.

RESULTS: kids who'd seen aggressive behaviour showed more aggressive behaviour than kids who saw none.

CONCLUSION: children will copy how they see others behave.

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Raine (1997)

AIM: to investigate brains of murderers.

METHOD: researchers gave 41 murderers in Cali a PET scan an compared them with similar group of non murderers.

RESULTS: there were some differences, e.g. activity in prefrontal cortex was lower in murderers than non-murderers.

CONLCUSION: when prefrontal cortex isn't working normally, it leads to people committing violent crimes.

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Bandura (1965)

AIM: see if observing role model being punished would reduce chance of aggression being copied.

METHOD: children shown an adult model either being punished or reinforced for acting aggressively.

RESULTS: those who saw model being punished were less aggressive than those who saw model reinforced.

CONCLUSION: if kids see aggression brings punishment, they won't copy it.

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