Reaching a verdict

Stages and influences on decision making
Majority influence
Minority influence

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  • Created by: Faye
  • Created on: 30-04-10 14:53

Asch- majority Influence

Majority Influence
majority influence occurs when the minority conforms to the opinion or behaviour of the majoriity. For example, in jury a few people may think the person is not guilty but go along with the majority and find them guilty.

Solomon Asch conducted a classical experiment on conformity to find out whether people would still conform when the correct when the correct answer was obvious.

Aim: The aim of this study was to find out how people would behave when given an umambigous task. would they be influenced by the behaviour of others, or would they stick firmly to what they knew to be right? How much conformity to majortity influence would there be?

In total, 123 American male undergraduates (students) were tested.
Asch showed a series of lines ( the standard line and the possible answers) to participate around a table.

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Asch- majority Influence

This happend in groups of 7-9 participants but only one was naive (a real participant). The others were confederates (Insiders) of the reasercher.

The confederates were told to give the samr incorrect answer on 12 critical trials
In total there were 18 trials with each participant: In the first two trials- confederates answered correctly, and then 16 more trials, in 12 critical trials the confederates gave wrong answers and 4 more where confederates gave correct answers.

Findings- The crucial measure was how often naive participants gave the same wrong answer and the confederates on the critical trials (When the confederates gave the wrong answer). This was a measure of conformity. Overall, there was a 32% conformity rate. In other words, particapants agreed with the wrong answer on about a third of the critical trials. But there were important individual diffrences. For example, no one conformed on all the critical trials, and about 25% didnt conform even once. About 75% conformed at least once. Participants appeared to be experiencing a lot of stress through the experiment (e.g. nervous laughter, fidgeting) Just to confirm that the lines were unambiguous, asch conducted a control trial with no confederates gicing wrong answers. Asch found that people do make mistakes about 1% of the time

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Asch- majority Influence

Because the answers on the critical trials were obviously incorrect, Asch's study shows the impact that a majority can have on a individual. It shows a surprisingly strong tendency to conform to group pressure. However, the majority does not have the same impact on every individual

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