Asch

DauntlessAlpha
Flashcards by DauntlessAlpha, updated more than 1 year ago
DauntlessAlpha
Created by DauntlessAlpha almost 7 years ago
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Aims and Context, Procedures, Findings and Conclusions, Methodology, Alternative Evidence

Resource summary

Question Answer
What's conformity and why is it important? Conforming is taking a course of action that is favoured by the majority or seen as socially acceptable while deviation is the opposite. It's an important concept to look at as it affects behaviour and decisions - e.g how juries make decisions
What is an example of an early study conducted by Jenness(1932) to show people formed opinions An example of an early study to see how people formed opinions in groups was conducted by Jenness (1932) where he asked students to estimate the no of jellybeans in a jar, then asked them in groups to arrive at group estimate and when asked to make another individual estimate afterwards, found they had shifted towards group estimates. It makes sense that in an ambiguous situations, one looks to another for a reasonable answer
How was Jenness's research limited? However, Jenness' research is limited as he specifically asked for a group estimate rather than just observing whether they would produce similar estimates
Who carried out an improvement of Jenness's research and why was it an improvement? An improvement over Jenness's research was carried out by Sherif (1935) but using the autokinetic effect where he did not specifically inform participants that they had to produce a group estimate - they arrived at the group norm under their own volition.
What did Sherif's (1935) experiment involve? The experiment involved estimating the distance a spot of light had moved across the screen - initially tested individually then have a discussion with 3 others with quite different estimates to theirs and after the discussion were asked to provide individual answers again - there was a tendency to establish and conform to group norms.
Why did Asch criticizes both Sherif and Jenness's research? Asch thought that the research of Jenness and Sherif didn't measure conformity as it measured the formation of group norms. He also believed the research lacked impact as conformity is quite likely in ambiguous situations where there are no clear answers so he devised a new way to test conformity.
What did Asch aim to do? Asch aimed to investigate the effects of group pressure on individuals in an unambiguous situation. He wanted to find out if, when confronted with an obvious incorrect answer, individuals would give the conforming answer or an independent response
What did Asch ask student volunteers to do? Asch asked student volunteers to take a vision test although, unbeknownst to these volunteers all but one of the participants were confederates.
What did the sample consist of? The sample consisted of 123 male undergraduates from 3 different US colleges
How many confederates in each session and how was the seating arranged? In each session, there was 6-8 confederates and 1 naive participant seated in a room with the lone naive participant always seated last or second to last (to ensure they heard the other's answers before giving his own.)
What was on the 2 large white cards that participants were shown and what were they expected to do? The participants were shown 2 large white cards: one with a single black vertical line (the standard line) and one with 3 black vertical lines. The participants were then asked to select the line that's the same length as the standard line - one of the comparison lines is the same while the other 2 are substantially different (a difference of about 2cm or more)
How did the experiment start? How did it progress? The experiment began uneventfully, with the confederates giving correct answers then they made an erroneous collection - they were instructed to give the same incorrect answers for 12/18 trials. The participants were debriefed after the experiment.
Why did Asch carry out variations of the experiment? Asch wanted to see whether the size of the group or unanimity affected conformity more so he carried out variations of the experiment including...
What were the variations of the experiment carried out by Asch? Altering the size of the group (1-15), including another truthful partner (played by a confederate or another naive participant), including a dissenting,inaccurate partner (who disagreed with both the majority and the lone participant), a partner who left after 6 trials because of an appointment and a partner who changes his mind (correct answers for the first 6 then joins the majority).
Why were control trials conducted? Asch conducted control trials with confederates giving no incorrect answers to confirm that the task was unambiguous and found that wrong answers were given less that 1% of the time
What happened when participants were faced with unanimous answers? What did Asch conclude from this? When naive participants were faced with unambiguous answers from the confederates, they conformed 36.8% of the time and 75% of the participants conformed at least once which led Asch to conclude that there's a surprisingly strong tendency to conform to group pressure even when there's a clear answer.
What evidence suggests that people can resist pressure? On the otherhand though 25% of participants never gave the wrong answer and participants were non-conforming for 2/5 trials - this gives clear evidence that people can resist the pressure
What was found about participant's consistency throughout the experiment and what did this suggests about individual personalities? Asch also found that participant's behaviour (compliant or non-compliant) remained consistent throughout the experiment. Those that were independent had staunch confidence in their judgement and "played it as they saw it" whereas those that were compliant believed they were "deficient" in some way and this deficiency had to be hidden at all costs. These findings show the individual personalities and effects on conformity levels.
What was found when the size of the group was altered and what did Asch conclude about this? One of the variations of the baseline study was altering the size of the group. Asch found that with 1 confederate participants were swayed very little, with 2 the conformity levels were 13.6%, with 3 the conformity levels rose to 31.8% but there was no significant rise after this point when more confederates were added. Asch concluded from this that the pressure of the majority was increased when there was a greater majority but only to a certain extent
What were the findings for the dissenting inaccurate partner and what conclusion was drawn from this? Another variation was the dissenting inaccurate partner who reduced the pressure to conform even when he gave a different incorrect answer - this led to the conclusion that the effect of the majority influence depends to a considerable extent on the majority being unanimous.
What were the findings and conclusions for the partner who leaves? With the variations of the partner who leaves, the naive participant reverts to conforming to the majority - the confederate's initial independent behaviour has no lasting effects
Why was a lab experiment an advantage? A lab experiment was used. Conditions are controlled which means causal relationships can be established between IV (modifications to baseline study) and DV(conformity levels). It’s easy to replicate due to standardized procedures which suggests high consistency
What was suggest about the reliability when Perrin and Spencer repeated it in the late 1970s? There’s a low reliability as when Perrin and Spencer repeated the experiment in the late 1970s England – conformity levels were much lower. Experiment was repeatable but with low consistency which suggests low reliability
How does the method lower internal validity and why is it not the best measuring tool? There’s also a low internal validity as the actual task of picking the standard line has nothing to do with conformity – it’s a really random task which means there’s no reason why participants would feel so strongly about putting across the right answers in such an unrealistic task. It’s not the best measuring tool as it doesn’t really measure what it intends to (conformity).
What may the participants do that lowers internal validity? Also participants may guess aims of research and change behaviour to match demand characteristics which also lowers internal validity.
What about the time period that the research was carried out in lowers the population validity? The external validity is lowered because the research was carried out in the Era of McCarthyism where there was a highly conformist society (due to paranoia of being accused of communist beliefs) which means it’s not generalisable to other time periods and people lowering population validity.
How does the sample composition lower population validity? Also the sample was relatively small and consisted of all Americans and all men which makes it ethnocentric androcentric which decreases generalisability and therefore lowers population validity further.
How does the lab experiment lower ecological validity? The experiment was also carried out in a lab setting which lowers mundane realism due to artificial setting and therefore also lowers ecological validity.
What are the ethical issues and how can they be overlooked? There are also ethical issues as there was passive and active deception therefore misinformed consent but it was necessary to aims of study. The naive participant may experience autonomic arousal (high bp) but anxiety is short term and mild – and not permanently damaging so these ethical issues can probably be overlooked in this instance
What did Perrin and Spencer (1970) find? CONTRADICTS/SUPPORTS repeated expt in Britain on engineering students in late 1970's found that only 1 student conformed in 396 trials
How do Perrin and Spencer (1970) contradict Asch's research? CONTRADICTS as P+S believed that Asch's results reflected era of McCarthy in 1950's America where paranoia of being accused of communist beliefs was high so people didn't want to stand out; HOWEVER when P+S repeated procedure a year later on youths in probation, similar levels of conformity appeared supporting Asch
What did Smith and Bond (1988) find about collectivistic and individualistic countries? Smith and Bond (1988) DEVELOPS  reviewed 133 studies carried out in 17 countries classified as being collectivistic or individualistic  found collectivistic ones are more conformist as these cultures strive to achieve more group harmony than individualistic
How do Smith and Bond's (1988) findings develop Asch's research? DEVELOPS as suggests that even though conformity occurred in US (individualistic culture), in cultures where needs of group place above individual needs, conformity increases further, suggesting culture influences conformity]
What did Latane and Darley (1968) find? Latane and Darley (1968) SUPPORTS pps had to fill in a qs in a room either alone or with 2 other people; steam made to look like smoke made to pour through a vent in wall alone 75% of pps reported smoke, half of them within 2 mins with 2 other people, 38% reported smoke, 62% of pps carried on for 6 minutes
How do Latane and Darley's (1968) research support Asch? SUPPORTS because in an unambiguous (dangerous) situation where majority acting in an incorrect manner, individual conforms to group's rule (don't leave room in spite of smoke)
What did Burger and Cooper (1979) find? Burger and Cooper (1979) DEVELOPS  pps asked to rate funniness of cartoons aloud either individually or sat with confederate  those that were least conforming to confederate's humour rating were those that had greater desire for personal control in their lives (measured by qs)
How do Burger and Cooper's (1979) research support Asch? DEVELOPS by suggesting that personality characteristics can influence conformity; suggests drive for personal control in individual increases independence and decreases conformity
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