Asch (1951) believed that conformity was a rational process in which people work out how to behave from other peoples actions. He conducted an experiment that showed what would happen when people were confronted with a majority who were plainly wrong in their judgments, to see if they would change their own views to conform to the majority. We also did a take on this experiment, using the same aims and investigations.
Our experiment had 3 confederates which were ‘non participants’ working for us as the experimenters who had been briefed to answer in a particular way and one participant that believed the confederates are just other participants. In Asch’s experiment he asked 123 male students to take part in the experiment where we used both male and female participants and confederates, the first set of experiments were conducted using 1 male confederate and 2 female confederates with both male and female participants, in the second set of experiments we used two male and one female confederate and then in the last set of experiments we used two girls and one male confederate again. The participant would come into the room where the 3 confederates are too and were asked to sit down and one of the experimenters would read the experiment requirements from a PowerPoint, the PowerPoint had 4 lines on it, line X, A, B or C and the participants/confederates had to state aloud what line was the same as line X. The confederates all went first going clockwise leaving the participant last to see if they would conform to the majority.
By running this experiment we found that most of the participants conformed to the majority, 33% of participants conformed out of the 20 participants to questions 3, 5, 6 and 9.
After the experiment was done we debriefed the participant and told them they were being deceived, and they left the experiment stress free. We asked them if we could use their data and almost all of them agreed. Our methodological issues were the fact that participants would tell others because it was in a school environment and we had limited numbers of participants that could take part and haven’t done the experiment before. Another issue was that participants would get the questions wrong that weren’t the conformity questions.
Psychology Experiment for the blog
For our experiment we were investigating whether leading and mis-leading questions have an effect on decisions.
We designed our experiment that will answer this question it was an independent experiment and we took repeated measures. We designed a living room and put a certain number of objects in the room. We then gave a picture of the room with no items in it and gave the items separately with added items to see if the participants would put them in even if they didn’t see them in because of our misleading question. We chose to do this with year 9’s because we thought we’d get the results we needed because they wouldn’t be psychology students but they were also mature enough to take part and take it seriously. We also used matched pairs and had the same number of boys as we did girls. We took the participants out of class and gave them a PowerPoint that had the instructions on and a consent form that gave them the option to leave if they wished to do so, the PowerPoint then went on to the room we designed with the items in it and after 30 seconds of looking at the room we then gave them an empty room on a piece of paper and showed them another slide saying either ‘Place all the items you saw in the room where you saw them’ or ‘place the items you saw in the room where you saw them’ and waited a minute for them to complete the task. Then at the end we debriefed them and asked them what they thought of the experiment and they all said it was fine or all right.
Our experiment took a long time to conduct as only one person at a time could participate and each time it took 2-3 minutes until we could have another participant. We could improve this by making more equipment and having a room of participants all taking part at the same time. The debrief was poor because they weren’t too bothered and they didn’t really care, this was probably because of their age and they just wanted to get back to class with their friends and we could have changed this by asking them more questions on how it went and try and get better feedback. We found that girls paid more attention to details where as the boys just put the more obvious things in and got the little items mixed up. Most of the participents forgot to put the rug in because it blended in with the room and people didn’t notice it because it wasn’t an important object. At the beginning of the experiment we started letting the participants to look at the room for 1 minute but we found that that was too long and they would just get distracted rather than looking at the room, we also wanted to speed the process up.
We found that most of the participants didn’t put all of the objects in if they didn’t see them, even if it was a misleading question. From conducting this experiment we also found that the ones that did get it right were mostly girls and only one boy got it right out of the 10 we tested. The boys also got most of the items in the wrong place or put in the items that weren’t originally there instead of the ones that were. This shows that they have a shorter STM than girl because 3 out of 10 girls got it correct even with the misleading question, they didn’t put any objects in that they didn’t see and put the majority of the items in the right place, this shows that they have a larger STM than boys and pay attention to small detail.