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critisms outlining majority influence

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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.

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