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Introduction, Aims & Hypothesis
Conformity was first researched by Jenness (1932) who placed a large number of beans in a bottle and asked students to estimate the number and then arranged for them to discuss their guesses with a group, later when asked to give their estimates again; he found their individual estimates had converged towards that of the group. In Sherif's (1935) study of conformity, Sherif used the autokinetic effect in which a stationary spotlight in the dark seems to be moving due to slight movements of the eye. When participants were asked by how much and in what direction did the spotlight move they tended to make judgements that were very close to each others when placed in a group. The fact that a group norm rapidly replaced the personal norms of the members of the group indicates the existence of social influence.
Asch questioned the results of Sheriff's study and claimed that participants only conformed because the stimulus was ambiguous. Asch (1951) set up a situation in which 7 people all sat looking at a display they were given the task of saying out loud which one of the three lines a, b or
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