Social Studies

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: A
  • Created on: 30-05-13 19:31

Asch (1951)

Aim: would people conform to a unambiguous task?

Method: lab, independent groups, male undergrads. Say which line matched the standard line. 1 PP per group of 8.12/18 trials - confederates gave same wrong answer.

Findings: 6 control trials: gave the wrong answer 0.7% of the time. 12 trials - 37%. 75% of PPs gave the wrong answer at least once. Task became more difficult - more people conformed. Non unanimous majority reduced conformity. Being dissented - 28% conformity. Majority of 2 - not enough for people to conform.

Conclusion: control trials showed the right answer was clear. People will conform to things which they know to be wrong (NSI).

Evaluation: high int. validity (control, easy to replicate), low ext. validity (sample bias, zeitgeist - more conformity/stricter schools in the 50s), time consuming/expensive. Ethics (deception, ends/means?). Lacks mundane realism (no significance, conformity depends on the subject).

1 of 13

Sherif (1935)

Aim: would people conform in an ambiguous task?

Method: lab, repeated measures. Auto kinetic effect. PPs had to guess how much the light moved (first individually, then in front of 2 others, then individually again).

Findings: individual estimates varied widely. Estimates converged in the group. On their own again, estimates were more like the group estimates.

Conclusion: a group norm developed (influenced by others' estimates), affected by ISI.

Evaluation: high int. validity (no PP variables, easy to replicate, high control), low ext. validity (sample bias), lacks mundane realism, ethical issues (deception).

2 of 13

Moscovici (1969)

Aim: how people are affected by minority influence.

Method: lab, 132 women. Groups of 6 with 4 true PPs. Had to judge the colour of 36 slides (all shades of blue). Consistent condition: confederates said slides were all green. Inconsistent condition: said 24 were green and 12 were blue. Control: no confederates.

Findings: control group said green 0.25% of the time. Consistent: 8% said all green, 32% said green at least once. Inconsistent said green 1.25% of the time.

Conclusion: minority influence is stronger when it's consistent.

Evaluation: lacks mundane realism (trivial), control group shows hte task was unambiguous, low ext. validity (sample bias).

3 of 13

Milgram (1963)

Aim: why people obey unjust orders.

Method: 40 male volunteers. Learner - stooge. Shock generator (15v increase). The teacher adminstered increasingly powerful shocks. Experimenter prods, e.g. "it is absolutely essential that you continue."

Findings: 65% went to 450v. All PPs went to 300v, 12.% stopped there. The others stopped when the leaner protested. Seedy office: 47.5% went to 450v. The teacher forced the learner's hand onto the plate - 30% went to 450v.

Conclusion: people are obedient to authority, even in inhumane ways. Crimes against nature possibly caused by situational factors.

Evaluation: ethics (deception, informed consent, right to withdraw, protection from harm, ends/means - personal importance), important research (Nazi Germany), lacks mundane realism, Orne and Holland suggested demand characteristics (PPs showed distress).

4 of 13

Schwarzwald, Bizman and Raz

Aim: investigate the foot-in-the-door effect.

Method: independent groups. Gradual commitment condition: asked to sign a petition + give a donation 2 weeks later. Control group: asked to give a donation, no petition.

Findings: gradual commitment condition - more people made donations and the donations were larger.

Conclusion: the foot-in-the-door effect is effective.

Evaluation: low int. validity (individual differences), mixed research (Bell found it ineffective).

5 of 13

Bickman (1974)

Aim: investigate the role of authority figures.

Method: New York. Dressed up as a guard, milkman + normal citizen. Asked people to do things like pick up litter.

Findings: 90% obeyed guard, 50% obeyed citizen.

Conclusion: people are more likely to obey a perceived authority figure.

Evaluation: high mundane realism, ethics (deception, informed consent), low int. validity (sample bias).

6 of 13

Gamson et al (1982)

Aim: investigate whether people are more likely to obey than conform.

Method: PPs were asked to sign a document agreeing to the unfair dismissal of an employee, which would be used in court.

Findings: PPs disobeyed through minority influence (conformity). 1 or 2 PPs at first, then it spread throughout the group. 16/33 groups completely disobeyed, 9/13 partly disobeyed.

7 of 13

Kohlberg (1969)

Aim: investigate individual differences in defying authority.

Method: American teenagers had to find a solution to a moral dilemma.

Findings: found 6 stages of moral reasoning. Those who reached the higher stages were more likely to disobey unjust demands.

Evaluation: Kohlberg interviewd PPs - those who obeted didn't consider the morals (those who resisted did), Milgram found education + religion affected obedience (less educated - more likely to obey, Catholics more likely to obey than Protestants).

8 of 13

Schurz (1985)

Aim: investigate locus of control.

Method: Austria, similar to Milgram. Pressed a button releasing a painful stimulus to a learner everytime they got a question wrong. 20 switches, increasing in intensity. Measured their locus of control.

Findings: 80% pressed all buttons.

Conclusion: locus of control does not influence obedience.

Evaluation: Twenge et al: young Americans are becoming increasingly external (negative efects like depression). Caused by social changes since the 60s (e.g. increased divorce/crime rate) - people believe many aspects of their lives are outside their control.

9 of 13


Aim: more realistic study of obedience.

Method: naturalistic, field, 22 nurses. Stooge doctor phoned the hospital - asked them to give 20mg of a drug to a patient without authorisation (3 rules broken: over the phone, double max dosage of 10mg, unauthorised).

Findings: 95% obeyed. Another 22 nurses were asked what they'd do - said they wouldn't obey.

Conclusion: people are unwilling to question authority even when they should.

Evaluation: unethical (deception), high mundane realism, low ext. validity (sample bias).

10 of 13


Found deindividuation allowed people to be more obedient. Stanford Prison Experiment: guards became aggressive when they wore sunglasses/uniform - they stopped taking responsibility, changed their behaviour to fit the role.

11 of 13

Zimbardo (1970)

Aim: investigate deindividuation in obedience.

Method: replicated Milgram. Some treated as individuals (wore own clothes), some treated as a group (wore hoodies).

Findings: average level of shock reached doubled when PPs wore hoods.

Conclusion: obedience is more likely when people aren't treated as individuals. 

12 of 13

Mann (1981)

Aim: investigate deindividuation in crowds.

Method: newspaper coverage of suicide attempts, focusing on crowds below buildings.

Findings: people in large crowds start telling people to jump (esp. if dark).

Conclusion: anonymity leads to more extreme behaviour (responsibility shifted to the group).

13 of 13


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »