Asch: Aims and Context
Asch aimed to investigate the effects of group pressure on individuals in an unambiguous situation. He wanted to find out if, when confronted with an obviously incorrect answer, individuals would give an answer that affirmed the error (i.e. conformed) despite being obviously incorrect or would they give an independent response.
Normative social influence: the influence of other people that leads us to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them
Informational social influence: you look to the behaviours of others who are also in the same or similar situation to see how they behave so as not to look unintelligent
Asch aimed to challenge:
Jenness (1932) asked students to guess how many beans there were in a jar. They could discuss their estimates and then were asked individually to give their estimates again. Jenness found that individual estimates tended to converge to a group norm. The task in this study concerned an ambiguous situation where one looks to others to get some ideas about a reasonable answer. One limitation of this study was that Jenness specifically asked participants to produce a group estimate, rather than just observing whether they would produce similar estimates (i.e. conform). AND
Sherif (1935) investigated responses to an ambiguous stimulus using the autokinetic effect. Sherif told participants he was going to move the light, and asked them to estimate by how far the spot of light had moved.
All participants were initially tested individually, and were then asked to work with three others who had given quite different estimates of movement. After their discussion, each was asked to provide individual answers again. These had become quite similar to those of the others in their group, demonstrating a tendency to establish and conform to group norms
Bennett-Levy & Marteau: Procedure
There were 113 participants in total; in group 1 there were 64 participants and in group 2 there were 49 participants.
Questionnaire 1 asked the participants about fear and avoidance of the 29 animals and insects, whereas questionnaire 2 asked the participants to rate their perceptions of the same animals and insects.
Group 1 completed questionnaire 1 which measured self-reported fear (three-point scale) and avoidance or nearness of the 29 animals and insects (five-point scale).
E.g., rat, worm, lamb, cat, jellyfish, ant, spider
Group 2 completed questionnaire 2 which measured self-reported ratings of the same 29 animals and insects as used in questionnaire 1 but specifically along four perceptual dimensions, UGLY, SLIMY, SPEEDY and SUDDENESS OF MOVEMENT (a three-point scale for each).
Three key characteristics of the participants: (1) The participants were all attending a British health centre. (2) Both males and females were equally represented. (3) The mean age of the participants was about 35 years.
In the case of animals that might have been considered to be harmful (e.g. grass snakes or jellyfish) participants were asked to rate them as harmless so that harmfulness was not a factor in the ratings made.
Once the participants were fully debriefed, the researchers calculated the mean score on each of the ratings of fear, nearness and the four perceptual dimensions. They calculated the most feared animal, gender differences in ratings and correlations between fear and the four PD’s and nearness and the four PD’s.
Loftus & Palmer: Findings and Conclusions
Experiment One, three key findings: (1) The highest mean estimated speed was for the question that included ‘smashed’, it was 40.8 mph. Smashed was the most violent verb used in the questions, and this was reflected in the mean estimated speed.
(2) The lowest mean estimated speed was for the question that included ‘contacted’, it was 31.8 mph. Contacted was the least violent verb used in the questions, and this was reflected in the mean estimated speed.
(3) The other mean estimated speeds were 39.3 mph…