Social Influence.

Conformity and Asch's Study.

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Majority Influence.

... This means .... when most of the people giving an interpretation or answer all join as a group and share the same view. This makes an individual subject to feel pressure and are influenced and pressure to join in and go along with it, just because everyone else is.

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differs from compliance in two ways; it involves
(a) a change of
behaviour towards a group or social norm, and (b) pressure from a group of people rather than a request from an individual.

Conformity is defined as a “change in behaviour or belief toward a group as a result of real or imagined group pressure.”. This implies that the change in behaviour is approved by the group (you would not be confirming to a punk group if you got a shore “back and sides” and started to wear granny’s knitted cardigans). Also the person has a choice in how to respond to group pressure . Three responses are possible...

1. Conformity (change in direction that a group would favour).
2. Independance ( individual does what he or she would do in absense of pressuring group).
3.Anti-Conformity (Individual does the opposite behaviour to the group deliberately!).

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Research into Majority Influence.

Asch 19,56.

He did a study where he asked STUDENT volenteers to take part in a 'Vision test'. All but one were confederates. Confederates are people who work with the experimenter. This is all to see how the lone 'real' participant would react and resist or not.

They were sealed in a room and asked to state, in turn, which line matched the same length as the standard one.

The confederate were given instructed to give the incorrect answer on 12 of the 18 trials.
On the 12 crutial trials, (the ones where the participant were exposed to resistance or conformity and had to choose which to follow), only 38.8% of the responses made by true participants were incorrect.

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Findings of research into majority influence.

Why did people conform on Asch's 19,56 study.

Asch interviewed and asked for there reasons for conforming...

1. Distortion of perception. This is where you say the lines in the same way as the majority.

2. Distortion of judgement. This is where they felt doubt about accuracy and yeilded back to the majority view due to uncertainty.

3. Distortion of action. This is where conscious effort that they know they were giving the wrong answer but kept private their trust of their own perceptions to avoid disaproval from the other group members (i.e. they complied).

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Conclusions on Majority Influence.

To show and prove the stimulus lines (in Asch's study) were ambigious (which means not obvious).

Asch conducted a control trail with NO confederates, finding that actually its possible that people make 1% mistakes all the time. (This was not a result from conformity).

This doesn't explain the high levels of conformity in the main study.

CRITICISM: all participants were students, male , americans and Asch did his experiment in the 1950's where people were afraid to be different!

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