Social Psychology

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Research methods
Abstract
In social psychology there are many researchers who investigated and challenged different theories within including well respected psychologists including; Sheriff(1935); Jenness(1932); Asch(1951); Crutchfield(1955) and Mann(1969). The aim of the study was; guessing how many sweeties were in the jar in a competition fashion and testing if the participants conformed to their guesses. The hypothesis was ' people would conform under group pressures of the pre-set guesses. The null hypothesis was that people would not conform under group pressures unless due to extraneous variables. The experiment was a field experiment using the techniques of independent groups design. The experiment was dressed as a competition based on the following three conditions; high pre-set; control pre-set and low pre-set guesses. The group used random selection in three math classes with the senior pupils of three different levels (higher, intermediate one and intermediate two). The IV (independent variable) that was used was the pre-set guesses and the DV (dependent variable) was the level of conformity performed by the participants. The conclusion of the results showed that 31.25% of the high pre-set guesses conformed (in the reign of 40+), 23.33% of the low pre-set guesses conformed (in the reign of -30) and 43.48% of the control pre-set guesses conformed (within the reign of 25-45). The breakdown of the analysis for instance the mean of all conditions and overall, the range of all conditions and control(appendix 13). After the group completed the experiment thought was put into how testing conformity could be continued. The ideas from the experiment could lead to testing the intelligence levels of people who conform and test is this level of intelligence has an effect on the level of conformity.

Introduction

Social psychology is an area in which investigations are made into the effects of behavioural differences of individuals and how they reflect on future behaviours patterns. Within social psychology there are different sub topics including the chosen topic of conformity. Social psychology studies the effect specific surroundings have on an individual. Conformity is when a person acts or reacts in an expected way or to yield to group pressures. This varies from peer pressure to pressures that the person is not actually aware of. People conform for two reasons; Normative social influence; the feeling of having to fit in; informational social influence; the feeling of always having to be correct. Jenness(1932), Asch(1951), Crutchfield(1955) and Mann(1969) all studied conformity in different ways. Sheriff(1935) also used the auto kinetic theory to test conforming in specific situations, the auto kinetic effect is a visual illusion which tests observation skills in light movement. The participants were asked individually their answers and were apportioned to a similar answer group. This is to test if the person will conform and the three will decide on an answer which is very similar. The conclusion from this is that in a situation which the participants had no confidence which the correct answer is they looked for a sense of guidance from the group to feel included. Due to the ambiguous nature of Sheriff’s research, Asch(1951) used a laboratory experiment with a group of participants. One ‘naive’ member of the group was removed and the remaining participants were shown a picture of three lines of different sizes. The group was instructed to give a specific answer (incorrect) when the second question was asked to the ‘naïve’ participant. When the ‘naïve’ participant returned they were shown the three lines, and a single line, they were then asked to give their answer. This was a test to confirm whether the individual would go against the wrong answer of the group under pressure. The hypothesis was that the person who was removed would feel pressure to go against their instinct and go with the majority...
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