Conformity: Asch's research

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  • Created by: IvyVega
  • Created on: 03-05-18 14:24
Procedure 1- part 1
Soloman Asch recruited 123 American male students. each was tested individually with a group with 6 to 8 confederates. one each trial participants identified the length of a standard line.
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Procedure 1- part 2
on the first few trials confederates gave correct answers, then all selected the same wrong answers. each participant completed 18 trials. on 12 critical trials confederates gave the wrong answer.
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findings 1- part 1
the Naive participants gave a wrong answer 36.8% of the time. this shows a high level of conformity, called the Asch effect, the extent to which people conform even in an unambiguous situation.
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findings 1- part 2
there were considerable individual differences: 25% of the participants never gave the wrong answer, so 75% conformed at least once. A few participants conformed most of the time. most participants said they conformed to avoid rejection.
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procedure 2- group size
the number of confederates varied between 1 and 15
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procedure 2- unanimity
Asch introduced a truthful confederate or a confederate who was dissenting but inaccurate
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procedure 2- task difficulty
Asch made the line jugding task harder by making the stimulus line and the comparison limes more similar in length
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findings 2- group size
with two confederates, conformity to the wrong answer was 13.6%: with three it rose to 31.8%. Adding any more confederates made little difference.
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findings 2- unanimity
the presence of a dissenting confederate reduced conformity, whether the dissenter was giving the right or wrong answer. the figure was, on average, 25% wrong answers. having a dissenter enabled a naive participant to behave more independently.
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findings 2- task difficulty
conformity increased when the task was more difficult. so informational social influence plays a greater role when the task becomes harder. the situation is more ambiguous, so we are more likely to look for guidance and assume they are right.
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limitation 1- child of the times
Perrin and Spencer (1980) found just one conforming response in 396 trials. participants felt more confident measuring lines than Asch's original sample. Also, the 1950s were a conformist time in America and people might be less likely to conform now
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limitation 2- situation and task were artificial
participants knew they were in a study so may have responded with demand characteristics. findings do not generalise to everyday situations where consequences of conformity are important, and where we interact with groups more directly.
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limitation 3- ethical issues.
naive participants were deceived. they thought the others in the procedure were genuine. but this ethical cost should be weighed against the benefits of the study. the main benefit was highlighting people's susceptibility to group conformity.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

on the first few trials confederates gave correct answers, then all selected the same wrong answers. each participant completed 18 trials. on 12 critical trials confederates gave the wrong answer.

Back

Procedure 1- part 2

Card 3

Front

the Naive participants gave a wrong answer 36.8% of the time. this shows a high level of conformity, called the Asch effect, the extent to which people conform even in an unambiguous situation.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

there were considerable individual differences: 25% of the participants never gave the wrong answer, so 75% conformed at least once. A few participants conformed most of the time. most participants said they conformed to avoid rejection.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

the number of confederates varied between 1 and 15

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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