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Flashcards in Asch (1956) Deck (21):
1

Aims

To investigate the degree to which people conform to the majority

2

Procedures

Male students and 7-8 confederates seated around a table
Asked to state which of the 3 lines were the same length to another line
All confederates answered wrongly on 12 of the 18 rounds

3

Findings

On all 12 trials, there was 33% conformity rate
75% conformed to at least 1 wrong answer
25% never conformed
5% conformed to all 12 wrong answers

4

Conclusion

Most participants conformed publicly and not privately
Normative social influence
Conformed to gain approval from group

5

Interviewed participants who gave 3 reasons to conforming

Distortion of judgement
Distortion of perception
Distortion of action

6

Distortion of judgement

Doubted own abilities, so followed majority

7

Distortion of perception

Convinced themselves that the majority was correctly answering the questions

8

Distortion of action

Public ally gave wrong answer even though they knew the right one

9

Asch’s situational variables

Unanimity
Group size
Difficulty in task

10

Unanimity

When real participant was given support from a confederate who was told to give the correct answer, percentage of wrong answers dropped from 33% to only 6%


Confederate who said different answer to the other confederates and the right answer, reduced wrong answers to 9%

11

Group size

Little conformity when there was only 2-3 confederates
Over 3 confederates jumped conformity to 30% - above 3 confederates had little affect on conformity levels

12

Task difficulty

Asch made the experiment different by making the difference between the size of the lines smaller - correct answer was less obvious and harder therefore
Level of conformity increased

Lucas et al - conformity rates increase if fast is harder as people look to others when they doubt their own abilities

13

Strengths

High internal validity - lots of variables were tested (participants were tested beforehand to check for individual differences) - valid and reliable

Lab experiment - strictly controlled environment

Supports normative social influence

14

Weaknesses

Lacks ecological validity - based on perception of lines, not relevant to real life ( lacks mundane realism)

Lacks population validity - only male undergraduates - gender bias

Ethical issues - deception, psychological harm (embarrassment for getting wrong answer)

Lacks validity - in 1950’s when it was an anti-communist period in America, where people were more scared to be different

15

Mori and Arai (2010) procedure

Improvement on Asch- no need for confederates
Filter glasses were used to see different things on same image - removed demand characteristics
Used both makes and females
Real world - participants knew each other so were more likely to conform
Still deceitful

16

Mori and Aria (2010) conclusions

78 participants who saw correct size line answered incorrectly 8% of the time

26 who saw incorrect lines answered incorrectly at 29% for females and only 5% for males - male conformity was lower than females, confirming the lack of gender validity for Asch’s study

17

Asch’s individual variables

Gender
Mood
Culture

19

Gender

Jenness
Jelly beans in jar - participants were asked to make a judgement on how many there were in the jar
Then talked in a group with others
Individuals then estimated a second time after the group discussion- this tended to move towards their group estimate
- although it does suggest normative social influence, it doesn’t help with people conforming to obvious wrong answers

20

Mood

Tong (2008)
Participants more likely to conform if they are in a good mood or positive mood - more likely to agree with people

21

Culture

Smith and bond - difference between collectivist culture (greater conformity) and individualistic cultures (less conformity)

22

Real world application

Neilson - buying the latest iPhone
90% trusted pears opinion
70% trusted media recommendation
This is due to normative social influence