Outline and Evaluate Research Into One Type of Conformity (12 Marks)

617 Words3 Pages
There has been many research into the two types of conformity, internalisation and compliance. Compliance is when an individual’s behaviour changes to match those of other people publicly (to avoid disproval), but not privately (i.e. their viewpoint remains unchanged). Asch carried out a study in 1956 to research into conformity by compliance. The purpose of the experiment was to see whether participants would conform to social influence and give incorrect answers in a situation where the correct answers were always obvious. They asked students to volunteer to take part in a vision test. They got 123 male students. The participants (six at a time) were seated around a table and looked at two cards: a test card showed one vertical line; the other card showed three vertical lines of different length. All but one of the participants were really confederates, i.e. colleagues of the experimenter. The ‘participants’ called out, in turn, which of the three lines was the same length as the test line. The real ‘participant’ always called out his answer last but one. The confederates gave unanimous wrong answers on 12 out of the 18 trials (the critical trials). The findings were that 74% of the participants conformed at least once, 26% never conformed and that participants conformed to the confederate’s unanimous incorrect answer on 32% of the critical trials. One of the problems with Asch’s conformity research is that it lacks ecological validity. This is because the tasked used is trivial. In other situations, the consequences for conformity may be higher, for example in smoking. There are no real consequences for conforming to the incorrect line. Therefore you could question whether his results would generalise outside of the research setting. However, Perrin & Spencer (1980) recreated Asch’s study and found that maths and science students conformed in only 1/396 critical
Open Document