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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the Asch effect
  • Define conformity and types of social influence
  • Describe Stanley Milgram’s experiment and its implications
  • Define groupthink, social facilitation, and social loafing

In this section, we discuss additional ways in which people influence others. The topics of conformity, social influence, obedience, and group processes demonstrate the power of the social situation to change our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We begin this section with a discussion of a famous social psychology experiment that demonstrated how susceptible humans are to outside social pressures.

Conformity

Solomon Asch conducted several experiments in the 1950s to determine how people are affected by the thoughts and behaviors of other people. In one study, a group of participants was shown a series of printed line segments of different lengths: a, b, and c ( [link] ). Participants were then shown a fourth line segment: x. They were asked to identify which line segment from the first group (a, b, or c) most closely resembled the fourth line segment in length.

A drawing has two boxes: in the first is a line labeled “x” and in the second are three lines of different lengths from each other, labeled “a,” “b,” and “c.”
These line segments illustrate the judgment task in Asch’s conformity study. Which line on the right—a, b, or c—is the same length as line x on the left?

Each group of participants had only one true, naïve subject. The remaining members of the group were confederates of the researcher. A confederate    is a person who is aware of the experiment and works for the researcher. Confederates are used to manipulate social situations as part of the research design, and the true, naïve participants believe that confederates are, like them, uninformed participants in the experiment. In Asch’s study, the confederates identified a line segment that was obviously shorter than the target line—a wrong answer. The naïve participant then had to identify aloud the line segment that best matched the target line segment.

How often do you think the true participant aligned with the confederates’ response? That is, how often do you think the group influenced the participant, and the participant gave the wrong answer? Asch (1955) found that 76% of participants conformed to group pressure at least once by indicating the incorrect line. Conformity is the change in a person’s behavior to go along with the group, even if he does not agree with the group. Why would people give the wrong answer? What factors would increase or decrease someone giving in or conforming to group pressure?

The Asch effect    is the influence of the group majority on an individual’s judgment.

What factors make a person more likely to yield to group pressure? Research shows that the size of the majority, the presence of another dissenter, and the public or relatively private nature of responses are key influences on conformity.

  • The size of the majority: The greater the number of people in the majority, the more likely an individual will conform. There is, however, an upper limit: a point where adding more members does not increase conformity. In Asch’s study, conformity increased with the number of people in the majority—up to seven individuals. At numbers beyond seven, conformity leveled off and decreased slightly (Asch, 1955).
  • The presence of another dissenter: If there is at least one dissenter, conformity rates drop to near zero (Asch, 1955).
  • The public or private nature of the responses: When responses are made publicly (in front of others), conformity is more likely; however, when responses are made privately (e.g., writing down the response), conformity is less likely (Deutsch&Gerard, 1955).

Questions & Answers

how far in thought and, verbally expressing your thought, does it become a disorder? so, in other words, are our brains really our brains by other professionals who, in my mind, portraying a Judge.. penalties of how you perceive YOUR life?
Stepphun Reply
what is true experiment and quasi experiment
Agunwiche Reply
In a true experiment, participants are randomly assigned to either the treatment or the control group, in a quasi-experiment they are not assigned randomly in.
Lyric
if I'm thinking about it the way you're asking. I haven't been on here in awhile lol
Lyric
what is general intelligence?
kiya Reply
there is no exact definition for intelligence. but some argues that it's organization of mental ability and how we use this ability in any particular situation..
gokul
what is application of humanistic theory of classroom
Afreen Reply
The humanistic learning theory developed further and harnesses the idea that if students are upset, sad, or distressed, they're less likely to be able to focus on learning. This encourages teachers to create a classroom
Dhwani
state the brief history of psychology
James
The history of psychology as a scholarly study of the mind and behavior dates back to the Ancient Greeks. ... Psychology as a self-conscious field of experimental study began in 1879, in Leipzig Germany, when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first laboratory dedicated exclusively to psychological research
Dhwani
can anyone explain sleep and it's stages?
Shachi Reply
yes
Dhwani
please let me know
Shachi
sleep works in three hour stages. falling asleep rem, waking back up. do you have a spicific question?
Nathaniel
When thinking about getting the sleep you need, it’s normal to focus on how many hours of sleep you get. While sleep duration is undoubtedly important, it’s not the only part of the equation. It’s also critical to think about sleep quality and whether the time spent sleeping is actually restorative
Dhwani
sleep studies have proven that how you aproach your sleep sycle is important. people will constantly concern thwmselves with how much sleep instead of the quality of sleep they are getting. it is better to get 3 houts of sleepless rest then it is to get 6 of strained sleep
Nathaniel
I mean stages of sleep
Shachi
and it's explaination
Shachi
thanks all😊
Shachi
How brain power can be used to control physical things?
Ali Reply
can anyone explain sleep and it's stages?
Shachi
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for disorders of a circadian rhythm?
wazir Reply
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for disorders of circadian rhythm?
wazir
To study Abnormal Psychology means, to study mainly the nature of
Baddo Reply
abnormal psychology? can you explain please?
la
abnormal, this branch of psychology typically deals with behavior in a clinical context.
pakki
yo
Baddo
To study Abnormal Psychology means, to study mainly the nature of 1). Conscious Mind 2). Unconscious Mind 3). Subconscious Mind 4). Normal Mind
pakki
yo
Kylee
abnormal psychology- is the scientific study of Psychological disorders and their treatments
utkarsh
Utkarsh Verma can you help me pass out my exams? tomorrom
Baddo
10 - 11 MCQ test can you all or some help? the only subject I'm weak in is psychology
Baddo
which branch of psychology is the test on?
pakki
How Abnormal Behavior is Defined While it may seem that the definition of “abnormal” indicates a behavior that is considered outside of the human norm, it is actually a much slipperier slope. Therefore, abnormal psychology takes on the task of scientifically studying and classifying human behaviors
Anye
Yo
Monica
What is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm disorders?
wazir
please I wish to find out how difficult/easy it is, for someone with a bachelor degree in philosophy to continue with masters and doctoral in psychology, specifically, I-O psychology.
Anye
do the individuals know that they are being researched on? and why does anyone speak up regarding the matter? is it "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
Stepphun Reply
examine any 5 perceptual principals of organization
kundai Reply
closure, pragnanz, proximity, continuity, similarity, inclusiveness
Shachi
Is it possible for a child to be schizophrenic?
Esther Reply
yes. early onset of schizophrenia starts at 13 to 18. very rare but possible.
Kristel
Good question
Mulder
It's uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
pakki
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm disorders?
wazir
is there a difference between age and romantic attachment style?
Alysha Reply
I don't think so. Well, not always. Certain things should be timeless.
Know
I'm 48 & he's 26 ...so we shall see?
Tanya
in my opinion if you both are comfortable with each other then definitely age is nothing but a number but then also there will be little difference in the cognition due to age
utkarsh
yes Utkarsh.I agree with you.We call it as generation gap. But there can be exceptions also...
Shailaja
yes generation gap can affect the relationship but this totally depends on the couple that how they settle up with each other
utkarsh
that is true, balance is needed. I spent a long time with an older man and I was more his child than his partner. power struggles are hard in relationships with generational gaps
Ashley
I think all it all depends on your comfort or braveness and attitude toward life, then age is just numbers.
Sujeet
new perspective n ones mindset towards life plays an important role... if the change is for gud.. go-ahead
Smitha
Yes romantic attachment styles change with age if that's what you are asking. here is where you can read more about it ***google.com/amp/s/qz.com/1206940/attachment-style-changes-with-age/amp/
krish
can empirical research be performed on people being diagnosed or people who have borderline personality disorder?
Stepphun Reply
yes it can
Angela
***pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3711874/
Angela
thank you for the feedback
Stepphun
👍
Angela
yes?
Stepphun
discuss the three models of positional coding in working memory citing examples.Please help me with points to this question
jane Reply
can you clear me up a doubt that for to become a psychriatist what process are needed
Mimi Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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