File - Social Sciences @ Groby

Social Influence
Types of conformity
PSYA2 Assessment
• 1 hour 30 minutes exam
▫ = 50% of the total AS marks
▫ = 25% of the total A2 marks
• Three compulsory structured questions, one based on
Biological Psychology (Stress), one based on Social
Psychology (Social Influence ) and one based on Individual
Differences (Abnormality).
• Questions include short answer, stimulus material and one or
▫ Biological Psychology,
▫ Social Psychology, &
▫ Individual Differences
• 12-mark questions requiring extended writing in which QWC
will be assessed.
Kelman (1958)
• Proposed three different types of conformity
• Fill these in on page 3 of your booklet.
• Adjusting your behaviour
to fit with the majority,
this is public but not
• Think of an example..
• People can accept the
views of other
members of a group if
their ideas match
their own. This is
public and private.
• Use a current news
story as an example
• This is the combination of
internalisation and
compliance where a person
changes their beliefs in order
to be like the influencer.
Sherif (1935)
Jenness (1932)
• Aim: To investigate conformity according to
informational social influence (desire to be right).
• Procedure: A bean jar, with an unknown value of beans
inside was shown to a group of individuals. First the
experimenter would question the participants individually
about what their estimate of the number of beans there are
in the jar. Then the participants were told to share their
estimates in a group. Finally they were asked individually
again to estimate the number of beans in the jar.
• Results: The participants showed a shift towards a group
estimate, rather than their own estimate. Almost all changed
their individual estimate, in line with the group estimate.
• Conclusion: This confirms the hypothesis that individuals
will conform to a group decision when they are looking for
information or seeking to be correct.
• Criticisms: This is a lab study; therefore it lacks ecological
validity as the experiment was conducted in an artificial
environment. The study does include some deception, as
participants were not informed about the aims of the study.
• Strength: Easy to replicate and therefore we can test its
reliability easily.
Asch (1956)
Asch’s Aim
• Asch’s aim was to see if participants would yield
to majority social influence and give
incorrect answers in a situation when the correct
answers were always obvious.
Asch’s Method
• Seven male, student participants looked at two cards:
▫ the test card showed one vertical line;
▫ the other card showed three vertical lines of different
• The participants’ task was to call out, in turn, which of
these three lines was the same length as the test line.
• The correct answer was always obvious.
• All participants, except one, were accomplices of the
experimenter (stooges).
• The genuine participants called out his answer last but
one, or last.
• Accomplices gave unanimous wrong answers on 12 of the
18 trials.
• These 12 trials were called the critical trials. In total,
Asch used 123 male college students in this study.
Asch’s Results
• Participants conformed to the unanimous incorrect
answer on 36.8% of the critical trials.
• This might not strike you as a very high figure but
remember the correct answer was always obvious.
• 75% of participants conformed at least once.
• 25% of participants never conformed.
• Some of these ‘independent’ participants were
confident in their judgements. More often, however,
they experienced tension and doubt but managed to
resist the pressure exerted by the unanimous
Distortion of perception
The participants came to see
the line in the same way as
the majority.
Page 162 of the textbook
Distortion of judgement
Distortion of action
They doubted their own
view and went along with
the majority.
The participant trusted
their own judgement
privately but changed public
behaviour to avoid
Final Activity: Complete the task
on page 6 of your booklet