conformity studies Flashcards

1
Q

Sherif’s autokinetic experiment

aims and method

A

in 1935 Sherif wanted to test if people conform in unclear situations.
He used the autokinetic visual illusion to make a stationary spot of light seem like it was moving.
Individually there was a large range of answers on how far it traveled.
He then put them with groups of three and two of them who had similar answers and one who had a different one, the group had to come up with a group answer.

2
Q

Sherif’s autokinetic experiment

results and conclusion

A

The group converged on a single answer and the odd one out usually conformed.
The results showed in ambiguous situation people will conform to the majority’s view since they believe they are right.
This is ISI

3
Q

Asch’s conformity experiment

aims and method

A

Asch believed that Sherif’s experiment did not show conformity since there was no right answer.
In 1951 he performed a study to see how much social pressure from a majority could make people conform.

123 make undergraduates in the usa had to compare the sizes of three lines to another one. The answer was very obvious and 18 trials with groups of 6-8 where conducted
only 12 where critical trials in which the confederates gave the wrong answer, Asch wished to see if the participants would conform to the majority’s views.

4
Q

Asch’s conformity experiment

results and conclusion

A

Through the 12 trials approximately 75% of the participants conformed at least once and overall participants conformed 35% of the time. In the control groups less then 1% of participants gave the wrong answer.

many did not believe the answers they conformed to but did not want to stick out (NSI) a few did believe the groups answer though (ISI)

5
Q

what are the 3 variables affecting conformity

A

group size
unanimity of the majority

6
Q

How did Asch’s study explore the 3 variables affecting conformity

A

Group size- with a majority of two or less there was little conformity but at a 3 confederate majority the conformity rate went to 30%

unanimity of majority- if one confederate gave the right answer the conformity level went from 33% to 5.5% and even if the answer was wrong as long as it was different the rate dropped to 9%

Task difficulty- By making the line lengths closer he increased the task difficulty and due tot his the level of conformity increased.

7
Q

what where the aims the Zimbardo’s prison experiment

A

Zimbardo wanted to see whether people will conform to new social roles of the prisoner and the guards or whether behavior will be dispositional.

8
Q

methods of Zimbardo’s experiment (setting up the study)

A

Zimbardo converted a basement of the Stanford university psychology department. He advertised in the newspaper for male participants who would be paid \$15 a day during the study. the participants where screened so they where as healthy in all aspects of life as they could manage.
the participants drew lots leading to 10 prisoner and 11 guards.

9
Q

methods of Zimbardo’s experiment

A

The prisoners where arrested in their homes without warning and where brought into the prison blindfolded so they didn’t know their location. the prisoners where stripped and given prison clothes and bedding. The prisoners received id numbers which they had to be called by the id number only and this was done to de individualize them.
all guards whore uniforms with billy clubs and wore special sunglasses to avoid eye contact. the guards worked eight hour shifts with three of them at a time. No physical violence was permitted but besides that the guards could do whatever they wanted to maintain order. Zimbardo was to observe them and act as prison warden

10
Q

what took place in the prison study?

A

Both the guards and the prisoners settled into the new roles quickly. The guards on the majority quickly began harassing the prisoners and behaved in a sadistic manner towards them. Prisoners where constantly taunted and dehumanised, and while there was some initial resistance prisoners quickly submitted telling on each over and taking rules very seriously. some sided with guards against prisoners when some prisoners rebelled.
Over time the guards acted more sadistically to the prisoners they became more submissive

11
Q

what was the effect of the prison study on the prisoners health

A

one prisoner had to be released after 36 hours due to uncontrollable screaming, crying and anger. many showed signs of deep depression and emotional disorder despite being stable before the experiment. The study was cancelled on the sixth day as Christina Maslach objected about the morality of what was occurring.

12
Q

what where the findings of Zimbardo’s prison study.

A

That dispositional of the participants did not effect them that much and the environment had a much larger effect on the behavior of the prisoners and the guards.

13
Q

what are some strengths of Zimbardo’s prison study?

A

Zimbardo had a good level over the variables in the experiment, this means it had high internal validity.
The random assignments means there was no bias and thorough checks meant that we can be fairly sure the participants behavior wasn’t caused by dispositional factors.

14
Q

what are some weaknesses of Zimbardo’s prison study?

A

The study isn’t supported by any other research and when partially repeated in the BBC prison study the results where different with guards being harassed by the prisoners.
The study was also heavily criticised on ethical grounds.

15
Q

what were some ethical issues in Zimbardo’s prison study?

A

participants where protected from physical harm not psychological harm, and many prisoners showed signs of deep depression and mental instability by the end of study only 6 days in.
Zimbardo also had a dual role as superintendent and researcher.

16
Q

How did Zimbardo rebuke the ethical claims about his experiment.

A

He did not intend to deceive participants as the arrest was only planned at the last minute and it needed to be a surprise for the study, although this breaches the contract he made.
Zimbardo abandoned the study after he realised how much of an effect the study was having on the prisoners.
They looked at alternate methods to get the desired information but none where found.
All participants where debriefed after the study
The benefits outweighed the harm done as we now know more about human behavior and how to run prisons because of the study.

17
Q

Asch’s study-evaluation

A

-)The study may have been a child of its time as people may have been more conformist in the 1950s

• ) The task and group setting was very artificial so people may have not take n their answers seriously. not ecologically valid
• ) The findings where very limited as only us undergraduate men took part of the study so it the findings cant ben generalized for society.
• ) He also deceived his participants which was a n ethical issue and he put participants in a confusing and stressful situation.