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Flashcards in Asch's Research Deck (10)
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When was Asch's study done?



What was the procedure of Asch's study?

- Each participant was seated round a table as one of 7. Unknown to the other participants the other 6 were confederates.
- Each group was shown a pair of cards. One with a target line on it and the other card has 3 lines of different length.
- Participants had to say which of the 3 lines matched the target line. The correct answer was always obvious.
- The confederates unanimously gave the incorrect answer 12 of the 18 trials.
- Answers were given out loud and the participant was always second last to go.


What were the findings of Asch's study?

- In 32% of the critical trials the wrong answer given by the confederate was also given by the participant.


What did post experiment interviews show?

- Most participants who conformed said that it was because they did not want to be in the minority case of exclusion by a group (NSI)

- Some participants who confirmed said that they thought their perception must be inaccurate so yielded to the majority (ISI).


What did Asch conclude?

- Even when the correct answer is not at all ambiguous, the majority can have a huge impact on an individual.

- However, people go along with the views of others for different reasons (ISI vs NSI) and the majority clearly doesn't have the same impact on each individual.


Why was the study criticised for lack of population validity?

- only investigated American, male college students.

- research shows that conformity rates differ across cultures and woman tend to conform more than men. Therefore it is clear that Asch's study cannot be generalised onto the wider population as there are gender and cultural differences in conformity rates.


Why does Asch's study have poor temporal validity?

- Took place in the 1950's - a time of McCarthyism
Therefore, most Americans conformed to the majority in the 1950's out of fear that they would be prosecuted for being different. Therefore we much once again accept Asch's conclusions with caution.


How did group size affect the study?

In 1956 Asch did another piece of research and found that 13% of people conformed when there were 2 confederates giving the wrong answer.

Conformity increased to 32% when 3 confeds. giving wrong answer.

Following that, adding more confeds. (up 2 15) had no further effect on the overall conformity rate. This shows that group size has an impact on conformity levels.


How did unanimity affect the study?

Asch replicated his study

He distrusted the unanimity of the confederates

He had one confederate give the correct answer throughout

Conformity dropped from 32% to just 5%


How did last difficulty affect the study?

Asch made the task more difficult by making the standard line closer in length to the comparison lines.

Conformity increased under this condition