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Essay example - outline and evaluate research into conformity

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Pages 4 (1004 words)
According to psychology, conformity is the tendency of an individual to follow an unspoken rule or behavior common to a social group to which he or she belongs. Over a long period, researchers have been studying the extent to which persons obey or fight back the social norms…

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Employing a line judgment procedure, Asch allowed a naive participant to sit alongside seven confederates in a room. In this case, all the involved confederates had been made to pick particular direction with regard to what their response would be when handling the line task given.  The actual participant did not have a copy on this and was tricked into believing that the other seven participants were also real participants like themselves.
Each candidate taking the test was required to loudly state which comparison line from the given A, B and C represented the target line. In all the test rounds the obvious answer was provided. The actual participants were made to sit at the end of the row and came as the last person to respond to the question.
The study involved a total of 18 tests and the confederates were made to deliberately state wrong answer on 12 tests (referred the critical trials).  In all these trials Asch concern was to find out if the actual participant would show conformity to the popular view. Additionally Asch’s set a control experiment that involved no confederates, only a "real participant" (McLeod, n.d).
Asch determined the frequency with which each participant showed conformity to the popular view. On average, a close figure of one third or 32 percent of the participants involved in this condition clearly showed their conformity with the obviously incorrect bulk on the critical trials. From the 12 critical trials conducted, close to 75% participants showed conformity at least once while the other 25% showed no sign of conforming. This is very different from the result got in the control trials, where actual participant did not face pressure to conform to confederates. In these cases, less than 1% o gave incorrect answer(McLeod, n.d).
What was it that made the real participants to readily conform?  When the real participants were interviewed at the end of the experiment, the majority openly ...
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