Introduction to Psychology

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Project 6: Conformity

Arvind Sharma 2011547819

INTRODUCTION: Ever since the first experiment on conformity was conducted by Jenness in 1932, psychologists have tried to measure conformity under various situations. Historically, conformity has been measured in numerous ways, though the most widely used methods have been behavioural observations and self reports (Scher and Thompson, 2007). While Asch’s Experiment (1951) remains the most popular work on conformity, Zimbardo (1971) and Milgrams’ (1974) work are noteworthy. AIM AND HYPOTHESIS: We wanted to find out whether undergraduate students conform to social norms or not? Also, what are the likely reasons for their behaviour? For this, we created our own experiment. However, let us define conformity and other key variables first. Kalat (2008) defines conformity as changing one’s behaviour to match other people’s behaviour or expectations. It is the dependant variable (DV) in our experiment and we gave it an operational definition. We measured DV by the subject’s correct gender identification and subsequent action of walking through the door assigned for their respective gender. This is further elaborated under the Research Method section. The independent variable (IV) in our experiment was self-monitoring attitude. We chose IV as our group believed that it is primarily high self-monitoring people are more conscious about their social image and are thus more likely to conform in general than low-self monitoring people and vice versa. The operational definition for self monitoring attitude was the score on Self-Monitoring (SM) Scale created by Mark Synder in the early 1970’s. Frayer believes that the personality test measures how much an individual would change his behaviour to suit situational cues. It has 25 questions in total and has been attached in APPENDIX 1 for your reference. The results were interpreted as high, intermediate or low score depending on how many questions the subject got correct using the answer key provided by lckes and Barnes (1977) attached in APPENDIX 2 for your reference. Our goal was to examine the relationship between self-monitoring attitude (IV) and conformity (DV). We expected a positive co-relation due to our group belief mentioned above. Besides, Scher and Thompson’s (2007) experiment, which was our inspiration, had found a significant positive correlation relationship between self-monitoring and behavioural conformity. Our target population was the undergraduate students at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). However, our sample consisted of only forty HKU students composing of twenty female and twenty male students. RESEARCH METHOD: Let us elaborate on how we went about conducting our experiment. Firstly, we chose to conduct the experiment at Chi Wah composite building since many undergraduate students go there to study. Secondly, we replicated Sarah Lisbene experiment on gender conformity. Lisbene had pasted gender signs on an entrance of a building to observe whether people would conform to the gender symbols on the doors. We duplicated her gender conformity situation at the main entrance on the first floor of Chi Wah as it has precisely two doors. We stuck gender symbols on each door at the eye level right besides the door handles ‒ a male only sign on right door and a female only sign on the left door. Then, we shut both the doors at the entrance. Anyone who wanted to enter the building from this entrance was bound to read the gender sign before opening the door and thus would have to make a decision to conform, observable by his/her action of walking through the appropriate gender-marked door. Thirdly, we used simple systematic sampling method to choose our subjects. Every 10th person was invited to participate in our experiment by filling in a two paged...
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