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

Examine Sherif's Conformity (Social Influence) Experiment

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Conformity Conformity is type of social influence that causes one to change their beliefs, attitudes or behaviour in order to suit a particular reference group. Sherif (1935, cited in McLeod, 2016) conducted a lab experiment using the auto-kinetic effect to investigate how people conform to group norms when they are put in an ambiguous situations. The participant’s answers converged to one group answer throughout the experiment they experienced Informational social influence (ISI) mainly because they were faced with ambiguity. ISI is the need that one may feel to be certain, and as they were placed in an ambiguous situation, the participants conformed because of this need. Internalisation is the change of both behaviour and opinion. During the experiment their answers converged into one, within the trials, the person whose estimate of movement was significantly different from the other two in the group, conformed to the view of the other two. their judgments had changed and so they internalised with the group estimate. (Deutsch and Gerard ,1955, cited in Hill, 2009) Asch argued that nothing could be concluded from Sherif’s study as there was ambiguity involved; it could not define the real reason for why people conform. Asch (1956, cited in Cardwell, Meldrum and Clark, 2000) was interested in perceptual conformity and so he conducted a lab experiment, asking one naïve participant to compare the length of a group of lines to one single line in a room of confederates. ...read more.

Middle

(McLeod, 2016) Asch also had very good reliability as results were measured many times and consistency was found. Although, both experiments lacked ecologically validity as the experiments were conducted in a lab which was very controlled and unrealistic. However, as previously mentioned, the control was needed to strengthen the internal validity. Both experiments were androcentric and had low population validity as only young American students were involved, so results cannot be generalised to other cultures, ages and females. They had also crossed ethical boundaries, such as deception. Asch told the participants that the test was on visual perception and Sherif asked to measure distance when there wasn?t any. However, without deception results could be invalidated as participant will form biased judgments by not wanting to conform, some argue that it was justified. Participants during the interviews of Asch?s experiments reported signs of stress and suffered from low self-esteem. (Asch 1956, cited in Cardwell, Meldrum and Clark, 2000) This proves that they were not protected from harm. However It also may be true that this stress factor may be a driving agent of conformity, can it really be eradicated during a conformity study? Referent informational influence is another reason for why people conform. They acknowledge themselves as being a member of a group (I.e. Students, work colleagues) ...read more.

Conclusion

Comparing these two studies, two things can be concluded, one being that the SPE may lack internal validity, was the effect of conforming to social roles really being examined or was it an example of authoritarianism dictated by Zimbardo himself? Or that the BBC prison study had good population validity as there sample included volunteers recruited through advertisement, which would make the study generalizable, but however seems to lacks internal and ecological validity due to focussing on the ethics and structure of the experiment and the internal validity may be questions as conformity was not observed among the participants, so was it really a test on conformity? There are many reasons for why we conform. We don?t always conform due to ISI and NSI sometimes they can work as one, as Insko et al?s study suggests, as the determined condition produced greater conformity in both private and public conditions, due to the effect of both ISI an NSI. It is also true that one may conform due to their sense of belongingness to a group and Crutchfeild?s theory concluded that individual differences is also a factor of conformity, as he found that certain personalities were more likely to conform than others, I.e. lack of intelligence or having less ego strength can make a person more likely to conform due to lack of competency or confidence. (Crutchfield 1955, cited in Hill, 2009) By taking into consideration all these factors, it can be concluded that conformity is ambiguous and cannot be defined on its own. ...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

    Psychology Coursework - Conformity

    4 star(s)

    Also a lack of reliability may be caused by there being a lot of differences between each participant. The only thing changed between the participants were the gender, no account of origin, ethics or ages were involved in the study.

  2. The aim of this experiment is to find out if people will conform without ...

    gave the same answer as the confederates, showing that people do not want to stand out of the crowd. Crutchfield (1955) He devised a version of the Asch experiment that did not involve face-to-face communication, (faceless conformity). Each participant was placed in a separate booth, facing a screen, which displayed

  1. Compare and contrast the studies of Sherif and Asch. What do they tell us ...

    Asch's later study was a response to Sherif's as he felt that conclusions were hard to draw due to the lay out of the experiment. Initially the task could be found to be ambiguous and so saying it was measuring conformity and were it not just people giving similar answers was difficult to conclude.

  2. Social influence, its concepts and ethics

    and a teacher, and the way that you would speak to a student would not necessarily be the way you would talk to your own child. Conforming there are two main types of conforming, which were developed by Kelman (1958)

  1. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    Loftus and Palmer's study was conducted in a laboratory environment, therefore it may have not discovered anything that would be applicable in the real world. The lab is a controlled environment, the real world is not and therefore the results had it been conducted in a real life situation may have been very different.

  2. conjugal roles

    Aim: To find out the percentage of men who participate at home with childcare and housework. Objective: Design and create a questionnaire to be given to men and women aged 20-60. I decided to pursue this aim to try and find out if gender specific roles were still as severe

  1. Pro and Anti Social Behaviour

    Pro-social behaviour may be helpful, but it is also important in the development and continuation of social relationships, which is an essential message from the study of cultural differences. c) Media Influences on Pro- and Anti-social behaviour Use for: a)

  2. Conformity is the change of behaviour or beliefs due to the observation of other ...

    Their task was to each call out which line they thought matched the one on the test card. The naive participant called out his answer second to last. The confederates gave identical wrong answers on 12 out of 18 trials, known as the critical trials.

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