• Created by: Stephanie
  • Created on: 19-04-14 17:02


Key words you'll need for this section:

  • Collectivism
  • Confederate
  • Conformity
  • Individualism
  • Majority Influence
  • McCarthyism

Compliance- Going along with others to gain their approval or avoid their disapproval. There is no change in the person's underlying attitude (perosonal opinion) but only a change in their public behaviour. 

Internalisation- Going along with others because of an acceptance of the group's view,both in public and private. 

Asch- 1956

A study showing Compliance:


It was a lab study of 123 male US students who had volunteered fir a study to 'test their vision.' All the other participants were confederates. Each participant had to say which of the three comparison lines was the same length as a standard line. The real participant always answered second to last. On 12 of the 18 trials,confederates were instructed ti give the same wrong answer. 

What did it show?

On the 12 'critical' trials,36.8% of the responses given by real participants were also incorrect. Only 25% of the real participants never conformed in any of the critical trials. Without the confederates giving the same wrong answers,participants were correct in their judgements 99% of the time.

Extensions to Asch's study-

When the task was made more difficult the level of conformity increased. It also increased with the size of the majority but only up to three participants with the same answer,after which it made little difference. Unanimity in confederates was a vital, otherwise conformity dropped away almost completely. 

Evaluation of Asch's study:

One issue of this study is that it took place in a particular period of US history when conformity was high. In 1996,the USA was in the grip of McCarthyism,a strong anti-Communist period when people were scared to go


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