Is Majority Influence Undesirable? Majority Influence is often undesirable. Eg.Rodney King was assulted by 4 LA police officers despite a video indicated that he was a victim the officers were acquitted. Afterwards one of the jurors admitted she changed her vote to conform to the views of the oher jury members.
Asch's Study: Line Experiment 7 People looked at a display. In turn, they all said which line A B or C was the same as the stimulus line X. There would be one genuine participant and 6 confederates who would unanimously say the wrong answer. The genuine participant would answer last.
Findings: Critcal trials showed that the participants gave the same wrong answer on about 37% of trials compared to the control were participants gave he right answer 99% of the time. Asch's study shows that group pressure to conform in terms of majority influence is stonger than previously thought
Weaknesses with Asch's Study
X Asch's Study was done in the 40's and 50's in the USA when conformity was higher.
X Asch used strangers in his experiments when the effects of majority influence is much higher when the participants care about the opinions of the other group members eg. friends.
X Ethical issues are not addressed as his participant could not provide fully informed consent. Many participants seemed embarrased and distressed.
Asch extended his research and found that when the genuine participant has a supporter then majority influence only effects 5% of the crucial trials.
Moscovici et al.
Participants were asked to describe 36 slides all of which were different shades of blues.
Six participants were in a group: 2 confederates and 4 naieve participants
In the consistent condition the 2 confederates described all 36 slides as green. In the Inconsistent condition the 2 confederates described 24 slides as green. In the control condition there were no confederates.
He found that: In the consistent condition 32% of participant yielded to minority influence at least once. Only 1.25% of participants answered green in the inconsistent condition. Thus, the consistent condition showed the greatest yield to minority influence.
Weaknesses of Moscovici's Study
X Lack of experimental realism as the slide test was artificial and may have yielded demand characteristics as it wasn't reliable.
X Lack of mundane realism as the set-up had no relevance to real life.
X Low external validity as it can't be generalised to real life studies. In fact, real life studies have found that the opinion of the minority often have very little impact on issues of importance.