Topics: Conformity, Muzafer Sherif, Autokinetic effect Pages: 2 (345 words) Published: March 3, 2013
Sherif (1935) Autokinetic Effect Experiment
Aim: sherif conducted an experiment with the aim of demonstrating that people conform to group norms when they are put in an ambigious (unclear) situation

Method:sheriff used a lab experiment to study conformity. He used the autokinetic effect. This is where a small spot of light in a darken room will appear to move, even though it is still. (known as a visual illusion)

* It was discovered that when participants were individually tested their estiments onn how far the light moved varied considerably (from 20cm to 80cm). * The participants were then tested in groups of 3.

* Sherif manipulated the composition of the group by putting together two people whose estimate of the light movement when alone wasvery similar, and one person whose estimate was very different. * Each person in the group had to say out loud how far they thought the light had moved.

* Sherif found that over numerous trials of the movement of light, the group converged to a common estimate. * The person whose estimate of movement was greatly differnet to the other two in the group conformed to the view of the other two. * Sherif said that this showed that people would always tend to conform. Rather than make individual judgements they tend to come to a group agreement.

Sherif demonstrated that conformity did occur due to informational conformity as the participants were in an ambigious (unclear) situation and socially compares their behaviour with the group.

Ethical issues

Deception took place as Sherif told the participants that the light would mover, when infact it remained stationary.

All participants gave conformed consent and had the right to withdraw.

The strengths with the study was the method used to test conformity, as it was performed in the laboratory all variable could be measured and controlled, meaning that any effect on the dependant variable was down...
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