Conformity answer key

By Saul McLeodupdated Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism, etc.

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Conformity is also known as majority influence or group pressure. Jenness was the first psychologist to study conformity. His experiment was an ambiguous situation involving a glass bottle filled with beans. He asked participants individually to estimate how many beans the bottle contained. Jenness then put the group in a room with the bottle, and asked them to provide a group estimate through discussion.

Participants were then asked to estimate the number on their own again to find whether their initial estimates had altered based on the influence of the majority. Jenness then interviewed the participants individually again, and asked if they would like to change their original estimates, or stay with the group's estimate.

Almost all changed their individual guesses to be closer to the group estimate. However, perhaps the most famous conformity experiment was by Solomon Asch and his line judgment experiment. This occurs 'when an individual accepts influence because he hopes to achieve a favorable reaction from another person or group. He adopts the induced behavior because In other words, conforming to the majority publiclyin spite of not really agreeing with them privately.

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Compliance stops when there are no group pressures to conform, and is therefore a temporary behavior change. This occurs 'when an individual accepts influence because the content of the induced behavior - the ideas and actions of which it is composed - is intrinsically rewarding.

He adopts the induced behavior because it is congruent [consistent] with his value system' Kelman,p. Internalization always involves public and private conformity. A person publicly changes their behavior to fit in with the group, while also agreeing with them privately. This means the change in behavior is permanent. This is most likely to occur when the majority have greater knowledge, and members of the minority have little knowledge to challenge the majority position.

This occurs 'when an individual accepts influence because he wants to establish or maintain a satisfying self-defining relationship to another person or group' Kelman,p. Individuals conform to the expectations of a social role, e. It is similar to compliance as there does not have to be a change in private opinion.

A good example is Zimbardo's Prison Study. It is similar to normative influence, but is motivated by the need for social rewards rather than the threat of rejection, i.Humans are social animals, formign groups and strong bonds naturally.

Conformity is one effect that can happen as a result of this need to belong. Conformity is when behaviour is modified in order to fit in with a larger group. Solomon Asch was not the first to investigate conformity, but his studies have become arguably the most influential in the field.

Asch designed his experiments on the back of the findings of existing research that tended to find when given opinions contrary to their own, subjects would alter their own opinions so they would be in-line with the group majority. For the following experiments Asch used the same experimental paradigm using the line length cards which has come to be known as the Asch Paradigm.

It involves matching one line with one from a group of three. They sit in a row at a large desk and face the experimenter who holds up cards like those in figure 1.

The subject is near the end of the line, so by the time they have given their response they have heard the responses of most of the group. On the third trial, however, they deliberately give the wrong answer. The results were as follows:. The subjects were interviewed after each experiment so the researchers could find out more about why they went along with the group.

However, these were not investigated extensively. Interestingly, all subjects who conformed underestimated the frequency with which they conformed to the group. Asch wanted to explore two dynamics that he thought might influence conformity: group size and unanimity.

In this modification, when there was only one confederate the subjects did not change their answers but instead gave conflicting and correct responses. However, as the group grew the results changed:. Interestingly, this positive correlation between group size and conformity rate only goes up until a group of four i. However, after 8 or more confederates the rate of conformity begins to drop. Unanimity is when all people are in agreement, so in this context it refers to the extent to which all confederates give the wrong answer.

To test the above question, Asch made more modifications. Both conditions reduced conformity. In this next design, Asch tested what would happen if a subject gains a fellow dissenter but then this partner decides to join the incorrect group. A confederate was told to answer correctly on the first 6 critical trials.

During these trials, the subjects also had no problems going against the rest of the group and giving the correct answer. However, after 6 trials the dissenting confederate changed and began giving incorrect answers along with the rest of the group — and as a result so did the subject. As a result of the questioning from the previous experiments 27 subjects in totalAsch decided to see what would happen if the partner left the room completely.

conformity answer key

It was announced at a certain point after giving the correct answer on a few trials the partner said he had an appointment with the dean and had to leave. While there were still errors made i.

Asch had all confederates begin by giving correct answers and gradually changing to incorrect ones. By the sixth trial all the confederates were now giving wrong answers. The results showed that as long as there was just one other person against the group the subject could stay independent. However, as soon as he lost all partners the conformity rates increased.

However, even when the different in line lengths were 7 inches 18 cm there were still participants who conformed. The above studies provide some interesting insight into factors that influence conformity.

Asch suggested the following factors might influence conformity and since this paper was published in these have been studied:. Travis Dixon. Views 2,The Asch Conformity Experiments, conducted by psychologist Solomon Asch in the s, demonstrated the power of conformity in groups and showed that even simple objective facts cannot withstand the distorting pressure of group influence.

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In the experiments, groups of male university students were asked to participate in a perception test. In reality, all but one of the participants were "confederates" collaborators with the experimenter who only pretended to be participants. The study was about how the remaining student would react to the behavior of the other "participants. The participants of the experiment the subject as well as the confederates were seated in a classroom and were presented with a card with a simple vertical black line drawn on it.

Then, they were given a second card with three lines of varying length labeled "A," "B," and "C. Participants were asked to state out loud in front of each other which line, A, B, or C, matched the length of the line on the first card. In each experimental case, the confederates answered first, and the real participant was seated so that he would answer last.

In some cases, the confederates answered correctly, while in others, the answered incorrectly. Asch's goal was to see if the real participant would be pressured to answer incorrectly in the instances when the Confederates did so, or whether their belief in their own perception and correctness would outweigh the social pressure provided by the responses of the other group members.

Asch found that one-third of real participants gave the same wrong answers as the Confederates at least half the time. Forty percent gave some wrong answers, and only one-fourth gave correct answers in defiance of the pressure to conform to the wrong answers provided by the group.

In interviews he conducted following the trials, Asch found that those that answered incorrectly, in conformance with the group, believed that the answers given by the Confederates were correct, some thought that they were suffering a lapse in perception for originally thinking an answer that differed from the group, while others admitted that they knew that they had the correct answer, but conformed to the incorrect answer because they didn't want to break from the majority.

The Asch experiments have been repeated many times over the years with students and non-students, old and young, and in groups of different sizes and different settings. The results are consistently the same with one-third to one-half of the participants making a judgment contrary to fact, yet in conformity with the group, demonstrating the strong power of social influences. The results of Asch's experiment resonate with what we know to be true about the nature of social forces and norms in our lives.

The behavior and expectations of others shape how we think and act on a daily basis because what we observe among others teaches us what is normaland expected of us.

The results of the study also raise interesting questions and concerns about how knowledge is constructed and disseminated, and how we can address social problems that stem from conformity, among others. Share Flipboard Email. By Ashley Crossman. What Is Deindividuation in Psychology? Definition and Examples.

Diffusion of Responsibility: Definition and Examples in Psychology.In this section, we discuss additional ways in which people influence others. The topics of conformity, social influence, obedience, and group processes demonstrate the power of the social situation to change our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

We begin this section with a discussion of a famous social psychology experiment that demonstrated how susceptible humans are to outside social pressures.

Solomon Asch conducted several experiments in the s to determine how people are affected by the thoughts and behaviors of other people.

In one study, a group of participants was shown a series of printed line segments of different lengths: a, b, and c Figure Participants were then shown a fourth line segment: x. They were asked to identify which line segment from the first group a, b, or c most closely resembled the fourth line segment in length. The remaining members of the group were confederates of the researcher. A confederate is a person who is aware of the experiment and works for the researcher.

What is Conformity?

That is, how often do you think the group influenced the participant, and the participant gave the wrong answer? Why would people give the wrong answer? What factors would increase or decrease someone giving in or conforming to group pressure? What factors make a person more likely to yield to group pressure? Research shows that the size of the majority, the presence of another dissenter, and the public or relatively private nature of responses are key influences on conformity.

The finding that conformity is more likely to occur when responses are public than when they are private is the reason government elections require voting in secret, so we are not coerced by others Figure The Asch effect can be easily seen in children when they have to publicly vote for something. For example, if the teacher asks whether the children would rather have extra recess, no homework, or candy, once a few children vote, the rest will comply and go with the majority.

In a different classroom, the majority might vote differently, and most of the children would comply with that majority. Compliance can be a form of conformity. Compliance is going along with a request or demand, even if you do not agree with the request.

Now that you have learned about the Asch line experiments, why do you think the participants conformed? The correct answer to the line segment question was obvious, and it was an easy task. In normative social influencepeople conform to the group norm to fit in, to feel good, and to be accepted by the group. However, with informational social influencepeople conform because they believe the group is competent and has the correct information, particularly when the task or situation is ambiguous.

What type of social influence was operating in the Asch conformity studies? Since the line judgment task was unambiguous, participants did not need to rely on the group for information.

Instead, participants complied to fit in and avoid ridicule, an instance of normative social influence. An example of informational social influence may be what to do in an emergency situation. Imagine that you are in a movie theater watching a film and what seems to be smoke comes in the theater from under the emergency exit door.

You are not certain that it is smoke—it might be a special effect for the movie, such as a fog machine.By Saul McLeodupdated Dec 28, Solomon Asch conducted an experiment to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform. He believed that the main problem with Sherif's conformity experiment was that there was no correct answer to the ambiguous autokinetic experiment. How could we be sure that a person conformed when there was no correct answer?

Asch devised what is now regarded as a classic experiment in social psychology, whereby there was an obvious answer to a line judgment task. If the participant gave an incorrect answer it would be clear that this was due to group pressure. The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task. Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line A, B or C was most like the target line.

Solomon Asch - Conformity Experiment

The answer was always obvious. The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last. There were 18 trials in total, and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trails called the critical trials. Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view. Asch's experiment also had a control condition where there were no confederates, only a "real participant.

Why did the participants conform so readily? When they were interviewed after the experiment, most of them said that they did not really believe their conforming answers, but had gone along with the group for fear of being ridiculed or thought "peculiar. Apparently, people conform for two main reasons: because they want to fit in with the group normative influence and because they believe the group is better informed than they are informational influence.

One limitation of the study is that is used a biased sample. All the participants were male students who all belonged to the same age group. This means that the study lacks population validity and that the results cannot be generalized to females or older groups of people. Another problem is that the experiment used an artificial task to measure conformity - judging line lengths. How often are we faced with making a judgment like the one Asch used, where the answer is plain to see?

This means that the study has low ecological validity and the results cannot be generalized to other real-life situations of conformity. Asch replied that he wanted to investigate a situation where the participants could be in no doubt what the correct answer was.

In so doing he could explore the true limits of social influence. Some critics thought the high levels of conformity found by Asch were a reflection of American, 's culture and told us more about the historical and cultural climate of the USA in the s than then they do about the phenomena of conformity.

In the s America was very conservative, involved in an anti-communist witch-hunt which became known as McCarthyism against anyone who was thought to hold sympathetic left-wing views.

Conformity to American values was expected. Support for this comes from studies in the s and s that show lower conformity rates e. Perrin and Spencer suggested that the Asch effect was a "child of its time. They found that on only one out of trials did an observer join the erroneous majority.

Perrin and Spencer argue that a cultural change has taken place in the value placed on conformity and obedience and in the position of students. In America in the s students were unobtrusive members of society whereas now they occupy a free questioning role. However, one problem in comparing this study with Asch is that very different types of participants are used.

Perrin and Spencer used science and engineering students who might be expected to be more independent by training when it came to making perceptual judgments. Finally, there are ethical issues : participants were not protected from psychological stress which may occur if they disagreed with the majority.Newest Tips Subscribe FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter.

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The Asch Conformity Experiments

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conformity answer key

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Key Study: Conformity – Asch (1955)

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