Asch's Study

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Asch's line study-

Aim- To investigate whether people would conform to the judements of others in situations where such judgements were clearly wrong. 

Method- Male students were asked to take part in a study of visual discrimination. They were tested in groups of 7-9. In each group there was only 1 genuine or naive pp. All of the other pps were stooges. The pps were seated in a semi-circle and their task was to decide which 1 of 3 comparison lines was the same length as a standard line. They had to give their judgement aloud in the order in which they were seated with the naive pps answering second to last. There were 18 trails. On 6 'neutral' trails, the stooges all gave the correct answer but on the other 12 trails gave incorrect answers. There was a control condition in which 37 pps made their judements in private.

Results- In the control condition 0.7% errors were made, in the experimental condition, 37% errors were made. There were large individual differences. About 25% of the pps made no mistakes. 28% gave8 or more incorrect answers and the remaining pps gave between 1-7 incorrect answers.

Conclusion- The task was obviously easy as the error rate in the control condition was only 0.7%. Asch concluded that the 37% error in the experiment condition was due to social influence. Even in situations where the judements of others appear to be wrong, conformity…


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