Outline and evaluate research into Majority Influence and conformity (12 marks)
There is supporting empirical evidence for majority influence and conformity.
Asch (1956) used 123 male american undergraduate students in a laboratory experiment. They were told that they were going to be taking part in a 'vision test'.The aim of the study was to see whether the lone participant would yield to majority influence and conform. To do this Asch seated them in a room and asked the participants which line was the same lenght as the 'standard line'. The confederates gave incorrect answers in 12/18 trials and these were known as the 'critical trials'. In these 12 critical trials 36.8% of the answers given by the lone participant were incorrect, i.e they had conformed to the incorrect answers given by the confederates. However, 1/4 of the participnts never conformed in any of the trials. Asch then used a control group where no psychological manipulation was used and found that 1% of the answers given were incorrcet. This showed that the reason for the incorrect answers was because of majority influence and was not due to bad eye sight.
Asch's study can be criticised as suffereing a methodological flaw. The study was conducted in a laboratory which is an artifical environment and therefore cannot be applied to explanations of…