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Solomon Asch's Experiment 1951

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Solomon Asch (1951) conducted a simple experiment which is today expressed as a classic in social psychology. The purpose of Asch’s study was to investigate the degree to which group pressure could affect a person to conform. The procedure consisted of one standard line and three comparison lines, where the participants were asked to match the correct comparison line to the standard line in length. 50 male students in the US participated in this task. In each trial of the study, only one real participant was involved with six to eight confederates, which the naïve participant was unaware of. The participants were told to choose the wrong line as a match for the standard line and to give their answers before the real participant responds. 76 percent of the real participants tested had conformed, at least once, to the false answers that Asch’s assistants gave. Overall these participants conformed 37 percent of the time. 25 percent never yielded to the group pressure due to individual differences. Although 25 percent never complied, some people went along with the incorrect answers of the majority nearly all the time, meaning that there are two opposite extremes in this study. Only 5 percent of the participants in the control group made errors, as participants were not required to display…show more content…
Bond & Smith (1996) carried out a meta-analysis of conformity studies using a line judgement task similarly to Asch’s. Their analysis of studies taken place in the US had shown that conformity declined since the 1950s. Perrin and Spencer (1980) also replicated Asch’s study but with British engineering students. Only one student conformed in a total of 396 trials. The reason for this low conformity rate could be that they were more confident in their answers as they were engineering students and so, were less
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