# Asch (NM) 2011

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```Asch (1955)
Procedure
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Read the piece of paper I have given you.
DON’T LET ANYONE ELSE SEE WHAT IT
SAYS!!
Test run
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What is conformity?
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A person is said to conform if they chose a
course of action which is favoured by the
majority of group members, or is considered
socially acceptable.
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In what way are the people on the next slide
conforming?
Some key terms
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Deviation: the opposite of conformity
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Majority influence
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Public compliance
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Private acceptance
Jenness (1932)
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Individually, guess how many
beans are in this jar
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As a group, come to an estimate
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Do you want to change your
original guess?
Jenness (1932)
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Asked people individually to estimate
how many beans the bottle contained
Then put the group in a room with the
bottle, and asked them to provide a
group estimate.
Subjects were asked individually if they
would like to change their original
estimates, or stay with the group's
estimate.
Almost all changed their individual
guesses to be closer to the group
estimate.
Sherif (1935)
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The Autokinetic effect
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On the next slide is a light. The light will move
and you have to say in which way it is
moving.
Sherif (1935)
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The autiokinetic effect is when a stationary
spot of light appears to move due to small
movements of the eye
Sherif told participants to estimate by how far
the spot of light had moved.
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Asked individually
Then exposed to the estimates of two other
participants
Estimates tended to converge to a group norm
which was an average of these individuals’
estimates.
Issues with the previous research

Sherif and Jenness both used ambiguous
situations to investigate conformity.
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Little known about conformity in nonambiguous situations

Read Asch’s quote. What research method
terms can we use to sum up Asch’s
criticisms?
Aims

Investigate the effects of group pressure on
individuals in unambiguous situations.

When confronted with an obviously incorrect
answer, would individuals would give an
answer which perpetuated this error
(conformed) or would they would give an
independent response?
Procedures
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Asch carried out a number of variations of the
same experiment. You need to know in-depth
procedures for the baseline study, and also
some of the variations.
Use the textbook page 68-73, and the
original text.
When in doubt, look to the original text!
The baseline study
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8 minutes
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
Complete the table for the baseline study
procedure
Read and highlight the procedure
Findings for the baseline study

In a control study carried out before this
experiment, it was found that less than 1% of
people made errors when carrying out this task
when by themselves. This suggests that this task
unambiguous
is _____________.
Findings from the baseline study
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On the critical trials,
36.8% of responses
were wrong.
25% never gave a
wrong answer
Others agreed on
nearly every trial
Behaviour was constant
Those who did not conform…

Asch states “Those who strike out on the
path to independence, do not, as a rule,
succumb to the majority”.
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confidence in their own judgment
capacity to recover from doubt
felt it was “their obligation to call the play as they
saw it”
Those who did conform…

Asch says “Those who chose the path of
compliance are unable to free themselves,
and the ordeal is prolonged”.
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Believed that “I am wrong, they are right”
conformed so as “not to spoil the results&quot;
suspected the majority were “sheep”
thought the majority were “victim of an optical
illusion”
thought they were ‘deficient’
The variations

In pairs, read through the original study, and
write down the procedure and findings for the
variations.
Conclusions

The results from both the baseline study and
the variations suggest that there is a strong
tendency to conform to group pressures,
even in an unambiguous situation.
Conclusions
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The pressure from the majority reduced when
the majority was smaller.
Pressure to conform was also reduced by the
presence of a dissenter, even if the dissenter
was giving a wrong answer.
Therefore, conformity depends a lot upon the
majority being unanimous. For example, when
the dissenter started to agree with the majority,
many participants began to conform.
Conclusions

Read the quote from Asch, and look back at
the results. How does this study show how
people are able to resist conformity?
Evaluate the methodology
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Evaluate:
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Method
Reliability
Validity
Sampling
Ethical issues
Alternative evidence
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Do Sherif and Jenness
support, contradict, or
develop Asch’s results?
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Perrin and Spencer (1980)
1 person conformed out of
396 trials
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Higher pressure to conform in
the 1950s
Perrin and Spencer used
science students
Alternative evidence
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Nicholson et al (1985)
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32% of British students and 38% of US students
conformed at least once.
Provides some support.
Alternative Evidence
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Eagly (1978)
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Women are more conforming than men in group
pressure situations. Can you think of a reason
why this would be the case?
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However, men and women have different short
term goals. The result is that women appear to
conform more than they would in the real world.
Alternative evidence

Bond and Smith (1996)
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Berns et al (2005)
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Pg 77 (blue box) What did they do? What did they
find? What does it mean about Asch?
Brain scan evidence
Boel et al (2006)
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Pg 77 (blue box) What did they do? What did they
find? What does it mean about Asch?
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