Type: Informative Essays
Sample donated: Alexander Castillo
Last updated: August 18, 2019
RESEARCH INVESTIGATION Abstract This investigation was set in order to study the rates of conformity when a group norm was presented to the subject and, more specifically to distinguish if the participant’s opinions would change when they were exposed to a majorities’ judgement. The experiment took place as a field experiment in which participants (20 college students) were selected from their own environment. The end results obtained from the experiment showed that conformity existed as the mean for those who were presented with the factitious sheet estimations were drastically higher 142. ) than that of those who received the blank sheet (mean of 86. 6). INTRODUCTION Conformity is defined as a change in a person’s behaviour/opinions as a result of a real or imagined pressure from a person or group.
Kelman distinguished three stages of conformity: compliance, identification and internalisation. When a person do not truly have the same opinion therefore privately they do not adhere to these opinions. When a person identifies with the views of the majority and adopts publically and privately as they value membership yet when they leave the group hey return to previous beliefs they had before Joining the group.Internalisation is classified as full acceptance of the majorities’ ideas by the individual as they welcome the group’s values into their belief system. Background Previous experiments include Sherifs 1935 Autokinetic study where he put subjects in a room and flashed a light that dissipated, then another light appeared and also dissipated. He asked participants how far the light had moved, however, it had not moved, but the subjects had been asked ‘how far? so they assumed it had, and estimated a distance.The same study was conducted with the whole group in the room and he asked each individual the distance they thought the light had moved. He discovered no matter the answer the first person gave, the rest of the group’s guesses were very close, creating what is known as a ‘group norm’.
Later in 1955 Asch studied a group of six participants by projecting a straight line on a screen, then an image of three lines differing in length and told subjects that one was exactly the same size as the original line. Asch then asked participants which line was closest to the original.Only one in the group of six was a real participant, the other five being actors. The real subject was second to last to be asked, after the four previous gave incorrect answers.
The participant would generally follow the answer the others gave even if clearly wrong. Asch found that 74% conformed at least once, producing a level of 32% conformity. It is thought Asch’s participants gave wrong answers due to Normative Social Influence: they didn’t want stand out from the group. When an answer is not clear, rates of conformity change, take Jenness’ 1932 study, the first study on conformity.This experiment involved a container filled with beans. He asked individuals to estimate the number of beans in the container. He put the group in a room with the container, and asked for a group estimate.
Jeness then interviewed individuals 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. The high rates of conformity are due to Informative Social Influence; when one goes along with others as they do not know the right answer.Aim judgement.
Rationale It is important that this experiment is repeated in different cultures and time periods to give an accurate portrayal of modern societies. METHOD Design In order to prevent the Independent Variables from being influenced by the subjects surroundings it was opted that, for this investigation, a field experiment would be most appropriate. In this experiment to control any Participant Variables occurring, results in order to keep the experiment reliable. Also all participants were randomly selected and randomly dispersed into two groups of ten.The Dependant Variable as the intensity of conformity to the false estimates made and to how many sweets were in the container stated in the fake circumstance. The presence of the blank and fake estimation sheet meant that there was two points of Independent Variables.
The same standardised instructions were given to all participants in the study and the true aim of the experiment was not at first apparent to them. The participants were tested in their own individual setting and the timing was roughly two minutes per participants.The design of this experiment was chosen to assure the weaknesses of epeated measures for example; the participants guessing the true rationale of the experiment, would be avoided.
Participants Twenty participants were selected at random around the West College Scotland college grounds. The participants that took part were all above the age of 16 years old and both male and female samples were obtained. All participants were naive subjects in that they did not know the experimental hypothesis before taking part.Materials The following materials were all used to execute this experiment; a file to keep documents in order, a pen, a container holding the sweets, Consent form, Instructions, False Estimation form, Plain Estimation form and a Debrief form.
Procedure All participants were independently approached in their own environment for the experiment to take place. They were firstly handed a consent form to fill in and sign and were told that their information would remain confidential and if at any point they wished to they had the right to withdraw from the experiment.The participant would then be handed an Estimation sheet, some were given the false one with a fake norm created and some were handed a blank sheet to estimate on. The articipants were provided as much time as they required to look at the container filled with sweets before making their guess. After participants had submitted their estimates they were given a Debriefing sheet explaining the true reasons for the experiment.
Participants were apologized to as they were deceived, then thanked for taking part in the experiment.Results Measures of Central Tendency were used to examine the results. In order to do this the mean, median and range were calculated. The mean is calculated by finding the average result by adding all the estimations together and dividing them by the umber of results obtained. The median is the middle number of the results taken and the range is found by subtracting the smallest estimation from the largest estimation.
Factitious Blank Mean 142. 2 86. 3 105 131 Median 141 65 The mean found from the factitious sheet (142. ) is higher than that of the findings from the blank sheet (86. 6). This proves that, 80 years after Jeness’ experiment that conformity still exists within society.
The hypothesis was that; a higher estimation number would be found in the factitious records to show conformity still existed and this was achieved. Discussion The hypothesis drawn up before the experiment is backed up by the findings as the average number produced from the factitious sheet (142. 2) is higher than that of the blank sheet (86. 3).This shows that high rates of conformity still exist today 80 years after Jeness’ Conformity experiment as he too found high numbers of conformity. This also proves that NS’ and ISI also exist currently as norms forming meaning that the participants that were served with the factitious sheet were influenced by the previous answers as they were unsure of the true answer and also in some cases anted to fit in with the pretend participants. Previous experiments looking into conformity also found soaring rates for example Asch’s research into conformity.The set out of this current experiment ranges from Asch’s as the testing took place as a field experiment so participants were in their own environment.
However Asch’s 1951 research was conducted as laboratory experiments in which participants were in a different environment which may have altered their answers given and rates of conformity. Asch’s researched also differed from the current experiment as he opted o ask participants a non-ambiguous question whereas for this experiment an ambiguous question was asked which may increase conformity as there is no clear answer.Asch also had a sample bias during his experiment as only men from age 20-50 were selected for participation meaning his results could not be generalized to society.
Although the current study was a replica of Jeness’ 1932 investigation differences still occurred between the two experiments such as Jeness allowed his participants to estimate on their own and then he exposed the participants to produce a group estimate. He then offered for his participants to change their almost all participants changed their original answer to be closer to the chosen group number.Whereas with the recent experiment rather than participants being given the option to change their answers they were exposed to pretend estimations to see if they would be influenced by a made-up group norm. The set out of the recent experiment on conformity could be criticised as it was performed as a field experiment which resulted in a slight loss in control as all independent variables could not be monitored. If the experiment were to take place again this problem ould be solved by executing the study as a lab experiment where much more control is given to researchers.A more serious environment may also be required if the study were to be redone as the task was fairly mundane and not very serious and so participants may have been disinterested and so the results may not be entirely reliable. The solution to this problem may also be solved by performing the experiment in a lab or more serious environment in order to get participants to take the estimation process seriously.
Another limitation presented by the study was a sample bias became apparent as all participants asked to give estimates were tudents in the college.This bias could be avoided by ensuring random sampling is used so findings can be used to represent society accurately. For the experiment independent measures were used and therefore individual differences form, in order to prevent this, repeated measures must be taken with the same participants. If the study were to go further in depth with regards to affecting factors on the rate of conformity perhaps age differences would be studied more intensely as this is the area in which a bias formed in the original study. Conclusion Factious 95 120 128 130 137 145 152 164 200 42 45 67 103 107 173