The Asch Paradigm
In this essay i will discuss the experiment that Solomon Asch’s conducted in (1950) were his main was aim was to discover how majority influence can affect one individual judgment and how pressure from the majority can pressurise one person to Conform, I will also evaluate his research method, the results and the findings he attained. Aim
S Solomon Asch’s had disapproved of the Conformity experiment conducted by Muzzafer Sherriff as Asch had felt that sheriffs visual illusion known as the auto kinnect didn’t really show any results of conformity as the participants were asked to take part in an ambiguous task were they were just asked to point out how far the a light travelled in a dark room, Asch believed that Sherrifs experiment clearly had no right or wrong answer so it was impossible for the experiment to show any results of conformity in a group situation. Asch figured the only way to measure the rates of conformity was to place an individual in a group situation were they would be influenced by the majority even if they knew their group was giving incorrect answers on a task that was ambiguous and obviously correct.
The Method (laboratory experiment)
Asch decided to form a group of 7-9 participants were only one participant was actually the case study (naïve student) Asch put together a simple perceptual task were he asked participants to analyse two cards were they had to compare three lines that were identical to the measurement of the line on the study Card in a practise experiment Asch decided to individually test in total of 36 participants on 20 different versions of the task which I mentioned above, Asch reported their were only three mistakes made on 720 trials which an overall conformity rate of 0.42% the purpose of the practise study was that Asch had proved that the tasks were easy to analyse and the answers were obviously correct and unambigious.Aschs method of research of conformity indicated that it can be changed to examine the effects of various variables on Conformity this is why hiss experiment has been named the Asch paradigm.Asch then asked some of the particpants from the first experiment to participate who were told that this time they were going participating as stooges Asch informed the stooges that this time theey were going to be put in a group were they would would do what ever asked of them by Asch to fool one naïve student (participant) who would also take part in the experiment who would not know that they were conferdates.
According to Gross, R (p110. 2000) Asch decided to test another 132 students (young men) from 3 different University’s he discovered that 32% of participant’s conformed by agreeing with others even if they knew the answer they gave was wrong, 75% answered incorrectly on at least 1 trial and 25 % never conformed at all even if they gave the right or wrong answer Gross,R (p412,2010).
Image copied from Google images (Asch’s Paradigm)
When the experiment was concluded Asch’s individually interviewed the participants and questioned the reasons why they conformed to the majority of the group stated * Some of the participants felt if the disagreed with the majority of the group then they would be ridiculed. Learner (2003,420).
* The reaming members felt shocked because they felt they were answering correctly and thought either they were wrong because they were tired or maybe that set up of the experiment had led them to be incorrect Gross,R(p111.2000).
The procedure of Asch’s experiment was low in Mundey realism as it did not show ecologic validity were participants (Stooges) agreed to conform when the obvious correct answer was staring them in the face. You can’t pressurise someone to think one way and agree, in real life this procedure will not work in our society as everyone has a disagreement for example we disagree over sport, religion and beliefs...
References: David G Myers (2008) Psychology In Everyday Life, USA,Worth Publishers.
Eamon Fulcher (2005) A guide to coursework in Psychology, Essex, Psychology Press
Richard Gross (2000)
Richard Gross (2010). The Science of Mind and Behaviour. Dubai: Hodder education. Page 400.
The Asch Experiment - YouTube. 2012. The Asch Experiment - YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRh5qy09nNw. [Accessed 01 October 2012].
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