Discuss Research Into Conformity

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Discuss research into conformity Asch has conducted a study into conformity. His aim was to see if participants would yield to majority social influence and give incorrect answers when the correct answers were always obvious. A group of student volunteers took part in a vision test. Only one of the participants were genuine, the others were confederates. The participants were seated in a room and asked to look at 3 lines of different length and asked to state which line was the same length as the standard line. The answer was always obvious. Confederates gave unanimous wrong answers on 12/18 trials. Participants conformed on 36% of the 12 critical trials and 74% conformed at least once. Asch also conducted the same study with variations in order to explore conformity further. One of the variations was to increase the difficulty of the task i.e. make the answers less obvious. This increased the rate of conformity. Individual differences were important in this variation as those who were more confident were less likely to conform. A limitation of Asch’s study is whether it is valid or not. Asking students to judge the length of lines is an insignificant task. On a more important task, conformity is likely to drop Asch’s findings may only tell us about conformity in special circumstances and the study also lacks mundane realism. Having said this, the study was still well controlled and systematic. An issue with this study is that there are gender differences. Only male students were used in the sample so there is little generalisablility. It was found that women are generally more compliant than men in a meta-analysis. However, materials used were more familiar to males than females and therefore the role of confidence may have had an effect on the conformity levels of females. Another issue is that there are cultural differences. People from collectivist
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