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Central Traits. 'On the basis of one word participants will make bias judgements on the personality of two complete strangers.' Discuss.

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Introduction

Psychology coursework Social psychology- Impression formation My psychology coursework is criticising Solomon Asch's 1946 study on central traits and how they influence the impression we form of others. I criticise the study because it requires participants to form an impression on somebody who in fact doesn't exist. Therefore I propose to successfully prove that the central traits- "warm" and "cold" do actually effect our impression of others in real life. My hypothesis is that on the basis of one word participants will make bias judgements on the personality of two complete strangers. I will give a list of neutral words to describe my two confederates one list will consist of the central trait, cold and the other, warm. After this both the confederates will read out the same irrelevant bulletin notice and interact with the class. I will then present a class of year 7 students with a tick list with additional peripheral traits to describe both the confederates. I have numerous extraneous variables to control throughout my experiment. Firstly to make sure my participants based the additional traits purely on the list of words I read out. I used to female identical twins, this eliminates the issue of the Halo effect, the class would not judge the confederates personality by simply their looks. ...read more.

Middle

1 2 0 2 negative 2 2 0 2 negative 3 3 0 3 negative 4 3 0 3 negative 5 4 2 2 positive/negative 6 4 1 3 negative 7 5 4 1 positive 8 5 0 5 negative 9 5 0 5 negative 10 5 0 5 negative 11 5 1 4 negative 12 5 3 2 positive 13 6 0 6 negative 14 6 1 5 negative 15 7 1 6 negative 16 7 1 6 negative 17 7 1 6 negative 18 7 2 4 negative 19 8 0 8 negative 20 8 1 7 negative I have presented my results in the form of a table so it is clear and precise; it shows both the overall result and the statistics. It meant that I could also present my results separately. The first table is the results obtained from the tick list associated with the central trait, "warm". The second table is showing the results of the central trait, "cold". My results were quite successful to my aim however there were some anomalies and are not as consistent as I imagined they would be. For example a lot of the cold trait tick lists, had at least one positive additional characteristic ticked. ...read more.

Conclusion

If I were to repeat my experiment I would develop it by increasing the scale of participants. I would repeat it over and over using different circumstances to fit different groups of people which I would like to generalise my results to. I would perhaps use trained actors and actresses so that the confederates would not create flaws in my results. I would also perhaps instead of posing my confederates as just giving a notice. I would put them in a class as a "new student" and instead of a list of words have the teacher describe them before they entered, then video the class and observe the reaction towards the confederates. This of course would be a hypothetical situation as it would involve ignoring ethics such as consent and deception by tricking the class and filming them without them knowing. However I do believe it would increase the reliability and accuracy of my experiment therefore could be more recognizable for psychology. In conclusion I did manage to achieve my aim which was to "successfully prove that the central traits- "warm" and "cold" do actually effect our impression of others in real life." And prove my hypothesis, "that on the basis of one word participants will make bias judgements on the personality of two complete strangers" correct. Sophie Davies ...read more.

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