Asch`s Conformity Experiment Solomon Asch

By: Daniel Schollie, Tom Sanderson
What was the purpose of the study?
Based off of the Sherif experiment (1935)
Disguised as a “vision test”
Determine how often people conform
Who was involved?
Impressionable participants
 Young male students (undergraduates)
 Lack of mature adults
Describe the experiment
Conformity Video
What was discovered?
Effect of social pressure on behaviour
 Conformity levelled off after 8 people
Factors Increasing Conformity
Factors Decreasing Conformity
Lack of Group Unanimity / Agreement
Size of the Group
Conformity tends to increase as the size of the group increases.
However, there is little change in conformity once the group size reaches 6-8. With
one other person (i.e. confederate) in the group conformity was 3%, with two others it
increased to 13% and with three or more it was 32% (or 1/3).
Because conformity does not seem to increase in groups larger than four, this is
considered the optimal group size.
When one other person in the group gave a
different answer from the others, and the group
answer was not unanimous, conformity dropped.
Asch (1951) found that even the presence of just
one confederate that goes against the majority
choice can reduce conformity as much as 80%.
This suggests that individuals conform because
they are concerned about what other people think
of them (i.e. normative influence).
Answer in Private
Difficulty of Task
When the (comparison) lines (e.g. A, B, C) were made more similar in length it was
harder to judge the correct answer and conformity increased.
When we are uncertain, it seems we look to others for confirmation. The more
difficult the task the greater the conformity.
When participants were allowed to answer in
private (so the rest of the group do not know their
response) conformity decreases.
This is because there is less groups pressure and
normative influence is not as powerful, as there is
no fear of rejection from the group.
Status of Majority Group
If someone is of high status (e.g. your boss) or has a lot of knowledge (e.g. your teacher),
they might be more influential, and so people will conform to their opinions more (e.g.
informational influence).
The higher the status of the group the higher the level of conformity.
How did the experiment
change Psychology?
 Impact
view on groups/social
 People will conform, to an
 Groups larger than 8
 Asch’s
four lasting ideas
"That we have found the tendency to
conformity in our society so strong... is a
matter of concern. It raises questions
about our ways of education and about
the values that guide our conduct." –
Solomon Asch
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