Social Influence Studies Test

AQA Psychology B Unit 2

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Name and Describe a study for dominant responses

Michaels et al 

His aim was to test if the presence of an audience would facilitate well learned behaviour and inhibit poorly learned. 

He observed student pool players and chose 6 below and 6 above average players to observe. He watched and recorded the amount of successful shots for these 12 players in condition 1. In the second contion four passive observers stood and watched the game. Again Michaels recorded the amount of successful shots. 

He found that the above average player's accuracy increased from 69% to 80%, whereas the below averge player's accuracy decresed from 36% to 25%. 

He concluded that results lend support to Zajonc's dominant reponse theory. 

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Evaluate 'Michaels et al' study

The sampe used was small and restricted to only students, therefore the results cannot be generalised. 

Participants unaware of being in a study which rises ethical issues of lack of consent and invasion of privacy. 

Since participants unaware of being in a study confounding variables are hard to control, the students may have been tired and had drunk alcohol. 

It had high ecological validity as it was performed in a real environment. 

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Name and Describe a study for Evaluation Apprehens

Bartis et al 

His aim was to find out whether evaluation apprehension would improve performance on a simple task but inhibit it on a complex task. 

Participants were split into two groups, one group had to think of basic uses for a knife, the other creative uses for a knife. The groups were then further divided into evaluation apprehension group and non-evaluation apprehension group. 

They found that people in the evaluation apprehension condition, on the simple task gave more uses than those in the non-evaluation task. For the complex task people in evaluation condition gave less uses than those in non-evaluation conditiion. 

In conclusion evaluation apprehension increases performance on simple tasks but decreases performance on complex. 

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Name and Describe a study for distraction conflict

Saunders et al 

Aim to test the effect on distraction-conflict on a performance task 

Participants presented with either a simple or complex copying task to perform in pressence of people performing either the same or a different task. 

Participants in the high distraction condition made less mistakes on the simple task rather than the complex. 

The results provide support for distraction conflict theory 

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Name and Describe a study for normative social inf

Asch - Opinions and Social Pressure 

To see whether social influence occurs when there is clearly no doubt about the wrong answer.

Experiment was conducted using deception. Student participants were shown a card with a test line and 3 comparison lines. All but one student were confederates. The students were then asked to say out loud which comparison line they though matched the test line. Confederates were rigged to give the wrong answer on certain trials. 

Results showed that the average conformity rate was 32% and overall 75% of participants conformed to the 'wrong' answer at least once.

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Evaluate 'Asch' study

Criticised for not using a representative sample. He used students and some argue that students may be more conformist than non-sudents. However studies like Asch's have been conducted on particpants of non-students which have found similar results.

Ethical issue of deception.

Artifical experiment, consequences of not conforming were not harmful, this may not be the case in a real life situation. Therefore the study lacks ecological validity. 

He has been criticised for not identifying what caused conformity. 

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Name and describe a study for obedience


To see whether people will obey authority which involves inflicting great harm on someone simply because they are ordered to do so. 

Participants drew lots for role of 'teacher' or 'learner,' although was rigged so confederates were always the 'learner.' The 'learner' was strapped to a chair in another room and wired with electrodes. The 'teacher' was told to administrate an electric shock every time the 'learner' made a mistake. Volt shocks ranged from 15volts to 450 volts. 

Milgram found that 63% obeyed to the 450 volt level. 

He concluded that in the 'right' situation ordinary people wll obey orders from those in authority, even if it goes against deep moral beliefs. 

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Evaluate Milgram's study

Some state that the task is artifical, therefore experiment lacks ecological validity. 

Ethical issues involving deception and failure to protect participants 

Milgram debriefed every single participant and 84% reported they were happy to have taken part. 

His study has been important to understanding obedience. 

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Name and Describe a study into obedience to suppor

Hofling et al - Obedience in Nurses 

Aim, would a real life situation produce evidence to support Milgram's findings.

An unknown doctor telephoned a staff nurse asking her to check medicine cabinet for a particular medicine. He asked her to give 20mg of this to a patient and the doctor said when he goes to the hospital he will sign the neccessary papers. In order to obey the nurse would be breaking the following rules 

-accepting orders over the phone

-accepting orders from an unknown doctor

-exceeding the safe dose of medicine 

The results showed that 95% of nurses obeyed. When interviewed after they defended themselves by saying a doctor would be annoyed if they refused. 

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