psychology - social psychology

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Asch -


Asch's (1953) study looked into unambiguous lines and how people conformed to them.

he looked at how people can relate when looking for answers in unambiguous situations.

he took 6 confederates sat in a semi-circle and a further one participant who usually sat in the last or last but one position. while in this position they had to answer a series of questions based on line judgement.

the cards that had to be used were a series of three lines of different lengths and a further comparison line which the participant had to guess what was the same length.

he found that 75% of people conformed at least onces and 5% of people conformed all the time which leads us to beleive that conformity is alive and well in today's society

criticisms-this study was performed in the 1950s which is seen as the age of conformity and 'McCarthyism'

this study was performed in a laboratory experiment and not relevant to real life as study of lines was not particularily neccesary to real life.

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other studies

- off shoots from this research have been various-

- one of these are that the participant had a helper who agreed and always said the right answer in these trials it was found that conformity in this instance lowers significantly in that it helps participants more confidence in their own abilities.

- another study was done by crutchfield (1954) in which he situated people within booths and asked to perform unambiguous tests this elimated the visible pressure of a group and there allowed participants to be more brave in their answers.

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milgram(1965) wanted to look at the role of authority in the terms of peoples obedience to it.

milgram used a confederate who pretended to be shocked by a participant when he gave the wrong answer.

participants were asked to continue when they hesitated and prompted by the presance of a 'experimenter' who was another confederate acting as an authority figure.

he found that most people went up to very high voltages when prompted to do so. their excuse being that it wasn't their decision and that they was forced by more authoritive figures.

in conclusion people do conform to authoritive figures even to a deathly level and that this could be dangerous.

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zimbardo looked further at the role of authority and also looked at social roles within society, by this he took a group of 20 participants. and randomly assigned them roles either a prison guard or a prisoner.

these people were assigned these roles, the guards were giving specific uniforms of large sunglasses, guard uniforms all to acheive a state of deindividuation.

the prisoners were also given deindividuation to a state in that they was all given the same tunic to wear, all with numbers on it. the number which was on there tunic was now there new name.

they found that people had a general trend to apply to these social roles and meant that zimbardo had to stop the experiment 2 weeks into the experiment due to the extreme stress and injury which could be incurred if this experiment was allowed to continue.

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