Psychology - social influence - Asch's study

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What year was Solomon Asch's line study?
1956
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What was the aim of the study?
To investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to confrom in an unambiguous task
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Define ambiguous
Something that is not obivous or clear
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Define unambiguous
Something that is obvious and clear
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Define confederate
Someone who has been told how to behave and is working with the experimentor
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Define naive participant
They do not know what is going on, they are being studied
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Define critical trial
researchers are only looking at specific parts that are relevent, it is the part that is measured
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Define yeilding to group pressure
giving in to the rest of the group
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Define unanimous
all make the same desicions
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What is the act of unanimity?
where everyone agrees
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How many people were asked to participate in the study? What was their gender?
50 male students
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What did the "vision test" consist of?
seven confederates in a room with one naive participant had to state aloud which comparison line (A,B, C) was most like the target line.
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How many trials were there in total and what number of trials did the confederates give the wrong answer to?
18 in total, wrong answers given in 12
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What would these 12 trials be called?
critical trials
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Over the 12 critical trials, what percentage of participants conformed at least once?
75%
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What percentage never conformed on any of the 12 critical trials?
25%
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What percentage of participants gave the wrong asnwer in the control group?
less than 1%
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What reasons did they give for saying the wrong answer?
They didn't want to feel uncomfortable and also genuinely beleived the confederates
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What were the 3 variables that were thought to affect conformity that were investigated in 1952 and 1956?
Group size, unanimity and task difficulty
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What affect did group size have on conformity in this experiment?
when the size of the majority(confederates) was only 2, conformity went down by 12.8%. 3+ in the majority had no effect on conformity - optimum
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What effect did unanimity have on conformity in this experiment?
non-unanimous majority meant that conformity would decrease because participants would be more confident in their answer. If all of the confederates gave the wrong answer (unanimous) then conformity would increase.
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What effect did task difficulty have on conformity in this experiment?
levels of conformity increased when the answer was not as clear. Conformity decreased when participants had to write down their answer.
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Why is one limitation of this study a biased stample? Why was the sample biased?
The sample was biased because they were all male students who belonged to the same age group. This means that it lacks population validity. It might not be generalisable to females or older groups.
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Why is Asch's research criticized as "a child of its time"?
Because it may only be relevant to a certain point in history. Conformity was the social norm in 1950's America, people were afraid to be seen as different. Therefore it may not be applicable to today's society and therefore lack validity.
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How does the work of Perrin and Spencer in 1980 undermine Asch's work?
They replicated the procedure using British students, finding one conforming result in 396 trials
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Smith and Bond in 1993 found that those from individualist cultures are less likely to conform, but what countries were the participants from and what percentage did conform?
14% of Belgian students gave the wrong answer, 58% of Indian teachers gave the wrong answer
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Why does Asch's test lack ecological validity?
The experiment used an artificial task to measure conformity, it was not a meaningful activity, may not be applicable to conformity in real life situations because of this,
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William and Sogan in _____ tested people from the same _________ and found conformity to be ____ ______ in groups of people that knew eachother.
1984, sports club, even higher
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Lallancette and Standing made a criticism about Asch's work, but what was it?
The Asch effect appears to be an unpredictable phenomenon rather than a predictable pattern of behaviour. This is because they repeated the test with a variety of conditions.
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What are some of the ethical issues with this study?
Participants were not protected from psychological stress, participants were deceived even though it was necessary,
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Card 2

Front

What was the aim of the study?

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To investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to confrom in an unambiguous task

Card 3

Front

Define ambiguous

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Define unambiguous

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Define confederate

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Preview of the front of card 5
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