Asch 1955 (study outline sheet)
Sampling method: Volunteer
IV: amount of confederates
Aim: to investigate to what extent people will conform to a majority opinion even when it appears obviously incorrect.
Procedure: pp's were 123 American male students. Each participant joined a group of seven to nine young men sitting around a table. They were told only that they were taking part in a psychology experiment and were unaware that the other young men were unaware that other young men where stooges working for Asch. The group was given the task of matching the length of a target line to one matching the length of a target line to one of three alternatives. Each group member in turn named line A, B or C as the correct match, the real participant naming last. In the first two trials the stooges named the line correctly. However, they named the same wring line in 12 of the 18 trials each participants went through. In a control condition the stooges always named the correct line.
Results: in the control, condition pp's named the correct line 98% of the time. However, when the stooges all named the wrong line the participants named the correct line only 63.2% of the time. In nearly 37% of trials they conformed to the majority answer even though it was blatantly wrong.
Conclusion: people tend to conform to majority behaviour even when the majority are obviously wrong