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Outline and evaluate research into independent behaviour

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and evaluate research into independent behaviour A research carried out by Asch in independent behaviour was conducted in order to determine to what extent people resisted the pressure to conform. Asch used a lab experiment to study conformity. Using the line judgment task, Asch put a participant in a room with seven confederates. The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task. The real participant did not know this and was led to believe that the other seven participants were also real participants like themselves. Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious. The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last. In some trials, the seven confederates gave the wrong answer. There were 18 trials in total and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trails. Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, it is not similar to a real life situation demonstrating conformity. Adding to this, there were ethical issues in the process of this study: participants were not protected from psychological stress ? which may occur if they disagreed with the majority, Asch deceived the student volunteers claiming they were taking part in a 'vision' test ? the real purpose was to see how the 'naive' participant would react to the behavior of the confederates. The Asch study has also been called a child of its time (as conformity was the social norm in 1950?s America). Another research ? carried out by Milgram this time ? was set to observe whether people could resist the pressure to obey. Volunteers were recruited for a lab experiment investigating ?learning?. Participants were 40 males, aged between 20 and 50, who all had white-collard jobs. At the beginning of the experiment they were introduced to another participant, who was actually Milgram?s confederate. They drew straws to determine their roles ? learner or teacher ? although this was fixed and the confederate always ended to the learner. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some methodological issues were that Milgram?s studies were conducted in laboratory type conditions and leave questions about real-life situations. We obey in a variety of real-life situations that are far more subtle than instructions to give people electric shocks, and it would be interesting to see what factors operate in everyday obedience. The sort of situation Milgram investigated would be more suited to a military context. Also, Milgram's samples were biased: the participants in Milgram's study were all male ? lacks ecological validity. Furthermore, in Milgram's study the participants were a self-selecting sample, they might have had a typical "volunteer personality" ? not all the newspaper readers responded so perhaps it takes this personality type to do so. There were also ethical issues with his studies. Deception: the participants actually believed they were shocking a real person, and were unaware the learner was a confederate of Milgram's. Protection of participants: participants were exposed to extremely stressful situations that may have the potential to cause psychological harm. However, Milgram did debrief the participants fully after the experiment and also followed up after a period of time to ensure that they came to no harm. ...read more.

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