Conformity: Asch's research

  • Conformity: Asch''s research:
  • AO3:
  • Key study 1: Asch's Conformity research:
  • Procedure - Asch recruited 123 American male students. Each were tested individually with a group of between 6 and 8 confederates. On each trial the participants had to identify the length of a standard line. They did this 18 times. On the frst few trials the confederates gave the right answer, but then all of them selected the same wrong answer. On 12 'critical trials' confederates gave the wrong answer. 
  • Findings - The naive participants gave the wrong answer 36.8% of the time (i.e the proportion of critical trials when the participants agreed with the confederates' wrong answers). This shows a high level of conformity, called the asch effect - the extent to which people conform even in an unambiguous situation. 
  • There were considerable individual differences: 25% of the participants never gave a wrong answer, so 75% conformed at least once. A few participants conformed most of the time. Most that conformed said they did to avoid rejection (normative social influence) and continued to privately trust their own opinions (compliance, going along wih others publically, but not privately). 
  • Key study 2: Asch - Variables affecting conformity:
  • Procedure - Group size - The number of confederates varied between 1 and 15. 
  • Unanimity - Asch introduced a truthful confederate or a confederate who was dissenting but innacurate. 
  • Task difficulty - Asch made the line-judging task harder by making the stimulus line and the comparison lines more similar in length. 
  • Findings - Group size -

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