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

critisms outlining majority influence

Extracts from this document...


Criticisms of Majority Influence Question This essay will outline some criticisms of majority influence research and will consider if the criticisms are fair. When conducting experiments concerning majority influence, there are many aspects of psychology that have to be taken into account. The issues that arise in majority research are methodological and ethical. The methodological examples are sample bias, which is the sample type of participants used in the study, and internal and external validity, which determines if the study can relate to the human nature in real life, and if people conform to a majority influence. Ethical issues, relates to how the participants are being treated while taking part in the study, and that they are protected. The study's which are being focused on is Zimbardo (1973) and Asch (1951, 56). In the conformity researches by Asch and Zimbardo, only white western male students were used, which shows that both experiments lacked population validity as by the use of these samples, the research was only true for a very small amount of the population. As the participants were likely to be wealthy, liberal and only one age group it would limit the researches internal validity to a certain extent. The research's also show gender bias, as the result findings may be different if the experiment had female participants, therefore this research can not be used generally, ...read more.


Other evidence is that the participant's role allocations were picked randomly, hence the breakdown of civilization wouldn't be by personality and not the situation, but would be the situation which causes the civilization breakdown and not personality; although they may feel that they were playing a role. Asch's and Zimbardo's research can be questioned through external validity, as both researches were tested in an artificial environment. Asch's in particular did not have mundane realism as the tasks which were carried out were not appropriate in real life, as a result it may not be a representation of real life conformity, however this research still shows that people do conform, and could be relate to other situations. This criticism can be argued through some extent in contradiction to Zimbardo's research as although the surroundings were artificial, the participants experienced it as a real life prison experience. In addition Asch's study has been replicated and the result findings have been generalisable which shows his research has external validity. Asch's study's temporal validity can be queried as according to Perin and Spencer (1980), Asch's results were ' a child of its time', meaning that the results would only have external validity and have similar results produced elsewhere in that moment in time, as the results now have differed and levels of conformity have decreased shows that Perin and Spencer's view, the ...read more.


getting paid, so consequently the participant may feel that a deal/ contract has been made and should therefore fulfil the deal which relates to the double obligations dilemma of the participants versus society; where the end does justify the means as the study's showed different parts of the human nature which may of not been known if the study's weren't conducted, this there justifies the temporary issues of the experience. Although Zimbardo's participants suffered more, a result had still been concluded, and showed the aim of the experiment; also these two studies helped to develop ethical guidelines for future experiments and studies. As a conclusion the methodological criticisms as a whole do not greatly reduce the meaningfulness of the research and the end result does justify the means. The main methodological aspect that affects both study's was the sample bias, as the tests would have more internal validity if a range of different types of people were used, and both would have larger external validity if the study was taken in different areas of the world; therefore it limits its realism to a certain extent as these researches are only valid for one group type of population. Although ethical issues can be criticised for both experiments, both had justifications to ensure the best possible true result, avoiding role play and characteristic demands, and contributed in developing ethical guidelines. ...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. investigating levels of majority influence

    This investigation is intended to add to existing research in this area by focusing on the levels of majority influence between the genders when using the 'disgusting' pictures on the computer. Hypothesis: Experimental Hypothesis: There will be a significant difference between the number of males and females who conform in a staged discussion.

  2. Outline Some Criticisms of Majority Social Influence Research and Consider Whether these are Fair

    Jenness (1932) and Sherif (1935) both carried out experiments where the correct answer was debateable. Their findings could only provide the limited conclusion that in situations where a person is uncertain of an answer to a question, they are likely to be influenced by those around them.

  1. Theories of Asch and Tajfel

    A group " thinks and behaves in characteristically design team ways"3. This supports the social identity theory of when IMML first attended the Organizational Behaviour lecture of semester 2 with Kate McArdle. Throughout the past 2 years it has become acceptable to enter the management classes late, strolling slowly to

  2. Outline some criticisms of majority influence research and consider whether these are fair

    Asch's study is said to have shown experimental realism as participants were showing signs of stress, tension, and uneasiness. This briefly states that they would also act like this in a real situation. Asch's study was also judged for being considerably unethical as participants were deceived and made to feel very uncomfortable.

  1. To what extent are individual influenced by the majority and how can this be ...

    conditions in which the stimulus is clear. Conformity seems to increase with the number of 'independent minds' acting as sources of influence, although there are 'diminishing returns' in terms of additional influence after about 3 or 4 such sources. Perception (or misperception) of group norms is necessary for conformity to those norms (e.g., Prentice & Miller, 1996).

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

    However, the reactions to opinions and abilities differ because people cannot react to the two categories of beliefs in the same way. People can rank abilities on a scale from "good" to "bad." It is clear that a person must move toward the "good" direction on the ranking scale in order to improve.

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