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

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

Extracts from this document...


Outline some criticisms of majority influence research and consider whether these are fair In 1935, Sheriff studied conformity in an ambiguous situation using a phenomenon known as the auto kinetic effect. This was done by shining a dot of light onto a wall in a dark room and asking participants to stare at it for a length of time. He would then ask how far they thought it had moved. Even though the dot did not move at all and participants were not told, therefore the participants always had an answer. Sheriff's study was criticised for having no physical means of testing reality, high ambiguity and for not having a single correct answer. His study was also criticised for the lack of mundane realism and ecological validity, as his study did not imply any likeliness towards a real life situation. ...read more.


He asked them to match the line on its own with a line out of the three. But the participant didn't know that all the other participants were confederates giving the wrong answer purposely to influence the participant. Asch's findings did not match his hypothesis as most people conformed. Asch was criticised for only using male college students as his participants and that the sample did not represent the population so his study was biased. Also it did not generalise to other groups such as women and other cultures thus, his study was also culture bias. It has also been criticised for the lack of ecological validity, as the participant's behaviour would be different in the outside world. Moreover, the study lacked Mundane Realism, as the experiment was not liable to occur in real life, if it did the experiment would have to be far more ambiguous. ...read more.


In conclusion I think that the majority of criticisms made about conformity research are not very fair. To get a fair result psychologists cannot always tell their participants the truth about the experiment because there behaviour will not be natural for example the big brother show on television is to show how people act when put in certain situations but if they know that they are being watched then their behaviour will be different to what it is in real life because they want to be liked. It is hard for psychologists to mimic real life situations without deceiving participants about the real reason for the experiment, as demand characteristics will make participants act differently. Moreover, a laboratory isn't exactly a realistic situation. But if they were told the truth then we would not see their natural behaviour and the experiment would not be fair. ...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. Outline Some Criticisms of Majority Social Influence Research and Consider Whether these are Fair

    Asch's results are important as they show the conformity levels in an unambiguous task. The correct answers in the study are clear (although some participants reported distortion in their perception due to informational social influence which led them to believe a line of the wrong length was actually correct); this is different to previous studies where the material was ambiguous.

  2. Theories of Asch and Tajfel

    In not recognising IMML as a key part of this social identity he does not feel that it is necessary to conform to the behaviour. Steve's action supports Tajfel's theory as mentioned above. This could be due in part to our perception of his elitist attitude, where he feels superior to the rest, stopping the group from functioning.

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