Conformity Research

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Asch's research - procedure
Pps showed two large white cards - one standard line, three comparison lines. One was same length as standard, other two clearly wrong. 123 american male undergrads. 6-8 confederates. On 12/18 trials, the confederates gave a wrong answer.
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Asch's research - findings
Participant gave wrong answer 36.8% of the time. 25% did not conform at all. 75% conformed at least once.
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Asch's research - Variations
1. Group size - conformity rose up to three confederates but any additional made little influence. 2. Unanimity - Presence of dissenting confederate meant conformity dropped by a quarter. 3. Task difficulty - Task more difficult = more conformity.
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Asch evaluation - a child of its time
Perrin and Spencer (1980) repeated study with engineering students in UK. only 1/396 trials = conformity. 1950s may have been an especially conformist time in america. society changed since Asch carried out his research - not consistent across time
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Asch evaluation - artificial situation and task
Pps knew they were in a study (demand characteristics may occur). Doesn't resemble groups we are in in everyday life - findings do not generalise to everyday situations.
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Asch evaluation - limited application of findings
Only men tested, women may be more conformist. Conformity rates lower in individualist culture (US) than collectivist culture (China). Findings can only apply to american males - gender and cultural differences not taken into account
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Asch evaluation - findings only apply to certain situations
Pps had to answer out loud in front of strangers they may want to impress = higher conformity.On the other hand, Williams and Sogon (1984) found conformity was higher in group of friends than in group of strangers.
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Asch evaluation - ethical issues
Pps were deceived because they thought confederates were other pps. Ethical cost should be weighed up against benefits however.
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Zimbardo's research - procedure
Mock prison set up in basement of Stanford Uni psych dept. Students volunteered. Randomly assigned roles of guard/prisoners. Fake arrested, blindfolded, ***** searched and issued uniform and number. Social roles strictly divided.16 rules.
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Zimbardo's research - findings
Slow start. Guards took up roles with enthusiasm and behaviour became threat to prisoners' health. Stopped after 6 days rather than 14. Prisoners violent and rebellious then subdued and depressed.
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Zimbardo's research - conclusion
Revealed power of the situation to influence people's behaviour. Guards, prisoners and researches all conformed to their roles and behaved as though they were in a prison rather than in a psychological study.
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Zimbardo evaluation - control
Strength - had some control over variables. Emotionally stabled pps randomly assigned to rule out individual personality differences. Increased internal validity.
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Zimbardo evaluation - Lack of realism
Banuazizi and Mohavedi (1975) argued that pps were just play-acting, behaviours based on stereotypes. but 90% of of the prisoners' conversation was about prison life. The situation seemed very real to pps - high internal validity.
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Zimbardo evaluation - Role of dispositional influences
Fromm (1973) accused Zimbardo of exaggerating the power of the situation to influence behaviour.
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Zimbardo evaluation - lack of research support
BBC prison study findings were very different to those of Zimbardo's - the prisoners eventually took control of the mock prison. Social; Identity theory was used to explain this.
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Zimbardo evaluation - ethical issues
Zimbardo's dual roles in the study - he was researcher and prison superintendent and took his job as superintendent more seriously than his task of protecting pps.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Participant gave wrong answer 36.8% of the time. 25% did not conform at all. 75% conformed at least once.

Back

Asch's research - findings

Card 3

Front

1. Group size - conformity rose up to three confederates but any additional made little influence. 2. Unanimity - Presence of dissenting confederate meant conformity dropped by a quarter. 3. Task difficulty - Task more difficult = more conformity.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Perrin and Spencer (1980) repeated study with engineering students in UK. only 1/396 trials = conformity. 1950s may have been an especially conformist time in america. society changed since Asch carried out his research - not consistent across time

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Pps knew they were in a study (demand characteristics may occur). Doesn't resemble groups we are in in everyday life - findings do not generalise to everyday situations.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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