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With reference to alternative research findings, critically assess Aschs study into conformity

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With reference to alternative research findings, critically assess Asch's study into conformity A study that criticises Asch is by William & Sogon (1984) who claimed that the group Asch created did not reflect all groups found in society. They found that majority influence was significantly greater among friends than among strangers. Therefore Asch failed to realise that he could have obtained much stranger majority influence if he had replaced groups of strangers with an in0group of friends of the genuine participants & consequently this limits Asch findings to only groups of strangers & as a result lacks generalisability to other populations. ...read more.


For example, many minorities show considerable influence on the wider group i.e. gay rights. This criticises Asch because conformity can either be with the group on the minority, but can also be the other way round. A more recent study to criticise Asch is by Smith & Bond (1993). They reviewed American Asch studies & concluded that conformity levels had declined since Asch original study in 1955. The average conformity rate was 30% with the highest being 58% from Indian teachers in Fiji. Therefore it seems that Asch results may have been a product of the time & the culture of 1950s America A study that supports Asch was conducted by Sheriff in 1932. ...read more.


Dutch & Gerald call this type of pressure information influence. A study supporting Asch is by Perin & Spencer (1980) who reproduced Asch experiment in the UK believing that UK citizens would conform less than Americans. Their study showed a very low level of conformity; however they had selected their participants from universities using engineering students. This could be due to the fact that engineer students are trained to make exact measurements & so had the confidence in their skills in making accurate observations & so it could be considered a slightly biased sample not representative of ordinary people in UK. When they performed the test on ordinary people the result was 32% conformity; very close to Asch findings and so it supports Asch conclusion that the tendency for conformity is a powerful influence on our behaviour ...read more.

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Response to the question

The Response to the Question is good. The candidate answers well and extensively, drawing on a number of study sources to help evaluate the study by Asch into conformity. Though the candidate provides a good level of detail with regard ...

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Response to the question

The Response to the Question is good. The candidate answers well and extensively, drawing on a number of study sources to help evaluate the study by Asch into conformity. Though the candidate provides a good level of detail with regard to studies that support or refute the data provided by Asch's study into conformity, balance however, is not shown here. All assessment questions should be balanced with about three of four advantages with an equal number of disadvantages, and so the bias towards the negative critique can lose the candidate marks for balanced structure.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is good as each evaluation point is nicely backed up by a study and then explained well, with the effect of said evaluation point made clear, although some extra precision in parts would help the answer become even clearer and indicate to the examiner there is a flawless knowledge of psychology here. For instance, where the candidate mentions strangers limiting the generalisability of Asch's results, it would perhaps be more prudent to focus on the bias to Western cultural viewpoints and expectations as a critique of generalisability, rather than simply strangers. The reason for this is it ties in another big evaluation point of ethnocentrism (the 'imported etic') and it also encourages a more psychologically-sound analysis, based on real varying cultures, rather than simply "stranger" culture.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is fair enough that the sentences make sense, however, the adherence to the rules of Standard English are not always apparent and have been ousted in favour of short-hand alternatives, such as the frequent use of ampersand (&) instead of the word "and", or "1st yr" instead of "first year". This, whilst seemingly insignificant, is not acceptable at A Level, particularly in a subject whose exams are based heavily on language and so will attribute many more marks to QWC than other, non-essay based questions.

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