• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Asch aimed to investigate the effects of group pressure on individuals in unambiguous situations

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Aims and context of Asch Conformity is the change in behaviour of the minority to fit the behaviour of the majority. It is an important process for psychologists to understand as it is thought to have a significant impact on many of our behaviours and the decisions we make in many situations. For example, how juries make decisions and student behaviour in a classroom. Jenness in 1932 asked students to guess how many beans there were in a jar. Then they were given and opportunity to discuss their estimates and asked to give their individual estimates again. He found that the individual estimates tended to converge to a group norm. Sherif in 1935 conducted an investigation using the auto kinetic effect (a stationary spot of light is projected on to a screen which appears to move). He told them he was going to move the light and asked them to estimate how far the light had moved. They estimated individually and then asked to work within 3 others who gave different estimates they were then asked to give another estimate; these became quite similar to the norm. An issue with these studies is that Asch thought their research was limited and did not really measure conformity. ...read more.


When the participants were interviewed, the participants who did not conform, they replied that they knew that they were correct, and that felt it was their obligation to they call the play as they saw it. Those who did conform gave different reasons. They explained their behaviours in various ways, they said they yielded in order not to spoil the results. Some thought they were ?deficient? in comparison with the rest of the group and this needed to be hidden at all costs. When Asch changed the size of the majority he found that with only one confederate the naive participant was swayed very little. With two confederates the naive participant accepted the wrong answer 13.6% of the time. With three confederates it was 31.8%. The addition of further confederates made very little difference. Having a truthful partner reduced the pressure to conform, participants answered incorrectly on 25% as often as in the baseline investigation. With a partner who changes his mind, when the confederate partner started by being independent but then conformed, the naive participant also behaved independently but then submitted to the majority. Thus his initial independent behaviour had no lasting effect. ...read more.


However, this also criticises Asch?s study because Asch thought his study was better as the task as unambiguous so it measured conformity better than the ambiguous situation of guessing the number of beans in the jar. Sherif (1935) created an investigation into conformity using the auto kinetic effect to show informational social influence. They shined a stationary beam of light into a dark room and asked the participant to estimate how far they thought it had moved. Their results tended to converge to a group norm. This supports Asch?s study as it shows how people conform when they?re in a group. This is also challenges Asch?s study as Asch thought his study was better as the task was unambiguous so measured conformity better than the ambiguous situation of a light moving, maybe people conformed because they were unsure how to act. Perrin & Spencer (1980) suggested that Asch?s high conformity rates might be down be due to the fact that the research was conducted in the USA in the 1950?s which was the era of highly conformist society. They repeated Asch?s study in Britain in the late 1960?s and found that out of 396 critical trials only one student conformed. This contradicts Asch?s study as it shows that the conformity levels Asch found may be only due to the era and country he carried out. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    A Study to Show the Effect of Conformity on Estimating the Number of Sweets ...

    The alternative hypothesis therefore formed was that estimates in the experimental condition would produce estimates closer to the group estimate due to ambiguity. Furthermore, it was expected that a higher level of conformity would occur in an ambiguous situation because of informational social influence.

  2. The Matching Hypothesis

    Secondly it is suitable for my hypothesis as the males and females both came from one couple and therefore were related. For example the 2 sets of scores come from 1 couple (thing). A third reason for choosing Spearman's rank correlation test was because the data I have is ordinal and therefore able to be analysed using Spearman's.

  1. Social Pressure and Perception

    The question is would the subject go along with the crowd? Asch was amazed to find that most of the subjects conformed to the majority at least once and the rest of them conformed on more than 6 of the 12 trials.

  2. The experiment conducted tested the theory of conformity under the influence of group pressure.

    However, there are certain times when people are more or less likely to conform to the existing norms. Several factors affect the degree to which conformity will occur. Group cohesiveness (the degree to which we are strongly attracted to a group and desire to maintain membership in it)

  1. Theories of Asch and Tajfel

    ease with working with other IMML's either because their friends (informal/cross divisional) were in the same course or just because they have been in the same formal group for almost 2 years. BBA's are in fact more experienced in management subjects as they do more management than IMML's.

  2. Focus Group Research gives the researcher access to tacit, uncodified and experiential knowledge in ...

    among the participants so that group dynamics can be used to elicit various points of view from the participants' (p.174). Cohen and Garett (1999) demonstrate that since the method has been adopted by the social scientists a more humanistic approach has been adopted to demonstrate the influence of social work

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work