Describe the Factors Affecting Majority Influence

Topics: Conformity, Affect, Asch conformity experiments Pages: 1 (435 words) Published: December 9, 2010
Describe the Factors Affecting Majority Influence

A study was carried out by Solomon Asch which showed the factors which affected majority influence. In his study he wanted to see how group pressure affects group tasks with an obvious answer. The method he used to carry out this study was by using eight male students were arranged around a table but only one of them however was a real participant who turns up late and the others were confederates of the researchers. The task was to identify out of the 3 lines shown on a board which of the lines (A, B or C) was the same length as the test line (X). They answered out loud in turn and the confederates were all told to answer the same incorrect letter. The real participant had a chance to see what the other participants’ answers were, but not right at the end as he may become suspicious. It was important for him to see what the other participants’ answers were because when it was his turn to answer, the researcher gets an idea if the participant’s answer had been influenced by the majority. Asch found that 32% of the genuine participants conformed on the trials and only 26% of people never conformed. From this study, it is shown that group size is an important factor which affects majority influence, the larger the group size the more conformity there is; but only to a point. After about 5 or 6 people, Asch found that more people had very little difference on the amount of conformity. This may be due to the fact that people have guessed the purpose of the experiment. Another factor is majority size and the presence of an ‘ally’. If the majority is unanimous, conformity is much more likely, but if there is even one other person disagreeing with the majority even if it isn't the same as your own opinion then the levels of conformity drops dramatically especially if there is someone who continually disagrees. Asch also investigated that the method of making a decision was another factor, when the participants make...
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