Introduction: Conformity is a type of socialinfluence involving a change in belief or behaviour in order to fit in with agroup. Sometimes can be defined as ignoringyour own knowledge and going with a majority “yielding to group pressures”(Crutchfield, 1955). This is morecommonly known as peer pressure, for example, people smoking or drinking at ayoung age due to the pressures in society among friendship groups or familyetc. Jennes (1932) carried out an experimental investigation in order totruly understand the effects of conformityamongst groups. The study included a jar full of beans and allowed groups of 4participants to make an estimation of how many jelly beans where in the jar.The group was then allowed to chat about answers and then able to make a secondestimation. It was found that on the second estimation, the groups answer hadconverged, i.e.
they had all conformed slightly to each other. Deutsch and Gerrard (1955) gave two keyexplanations of conformity that have been vital in every study regardingeffects of conformity. Firstly, Informational conformity, this usuallytakes place due to a person being in an unusual situation or lacks knowledge onthe task therefore takes on the groups beliefs adopting them as their own.Lastly, normative conformity, thisusually means that the person is only conforming to another view or answer tofit in and not be rejected by the group. In many cases this means that theindividual still keeps their own view whilst publically accepting another. Studies similar to Jenness, have also helped further ourknowledge in conformity and have only made the study’s results stronger.
Suchas, Asch’s (1956) experiment where he used male participants ingroups of four, only one being the ‘real’ participant and the othersconfederates. Participants undertook trials where they were shown a line andhad to pick one of matching length from three comparison lines. Theparticipants had to call out there answers with the real participant beingafter the confederates who were deliberately calling out the wrong answers.
Thestudy resulted in 75% of the 123 participants calling out the wrong answer atleast once. Another experiment was Sheriff (1935) when he released a famousstudy called the auto-kinetic effect, participants were put into a blacked outroom where a single dot of light shone onto a screen, and this created anillusion where the light although still looked like it was moving. Participantswere asked where and how far had the spot moved, there first answers being verydiverse, however once they were able to chat to other participants, theiranswers had converged greatly. Aim: The aim of this study was to replicate Jenness (1932) BeanJar experiment; to research the levels of conformity among grouped participantsundergoing an ambiguous task when knowing previous group answers. This studyhas avoided using a group discussion as it may put participants in an awkwardsituation and/or feel judged by their own answers, therefore due to ethicalconsiderations has been changed. Participants may also collectively guess aimswhen able to have a discussion. The experiment alsouses pasta in a packet rather than beans in a jar.
Hypothesis: Looking at previous studies such as Jennes (1932) wherealmost all participants’ answers converged, and Asch’s (1956) study where 75%of participants conformed at least once to the groups decisions we are able tocreate an experimental hypothesis: When guessing how many pieces of pasta thereis in a packet, the mean average of the group exposed to the fictitiousestimate sheet will be higher than the mean than the group that where given a blankestimate sheet. Null hypothesis: There is no differencebetween the estimates as the groups exposed to the fictitious estimates thanthe groups with a blank sheet. Conformity does not take place. Method:Thisstudy was carried out as a lab experiment, this helps avoid and controlextraneous variables. Note that the original study did use a group discussion;however, this was eliminated and substituted in a fictitious estimate sheet. Design: Usingindependent measures to carry out the experiment, one half of the participantswere given a blank estimate sheet and the other with a fictitious estimatesheet. Thus being the independent variable – only half seeing a ‘higher thanaverage’ fictitious estimate sheet.
The dependent variable of the experimentwas measuring the levels of conformity between the first and second set ofgroups. To control the experiment, a script was used toavoid any extraneous variables such as giving away the true aim of the study.Also, a group discussion was avoided and replaced with a fictitious estimatesheet for half of the participants again to avoid groups discovering the trueaims or raising any ethical issues. Participants: The target population of the experiment was …… The sample group was selected throughopportunity sampling inside the college, i.e. asking students if they couldtake part. The participants were put in groups of 4, of 24 students.
Thisallowed 3 groups to participate with a blank estimate sheet and the other 3 toparticipate with a fictitious estimate sheet. The ages ranged amongst therandomly allocated participants from 16-28 yearsold, the mean being 19.7years with a complete split of 50/50 male andfemale. The people where then randomly allocated intogroups on a first come first served basis. Materials: The researchers initially gave participants an informationsheet and a consentIain mcgo1 form when approached on taking part in the study.The experiment also used a bag of pasta (with a sheet to cover it) and includeda blank estimate sheet or a fictitious estimate sheet for participants to writetheir own on. The researchers also stuck to a strict script when carrying outthe investigation, afterwards also received a debriefing sheet. (All sheetsincluded in the appendices see page -) Procedure: Participants where gathered during lunch hours, with exactly half being male and Iain mcgo2 female.
The participants in groups of 4 wherebrought to an empty psychology lab-room and seated at a desk, each participanta meter away from each other at opposite sides with the bag of pasta in themiddle of the desk. The group where given an information sheet and a consentform agreeing they were over the age of 16 and hadn’t previously takenpsychology. 4 researchers stayed in the class during the investigation to read thescript out to the participants as instructions. The pasta was initially hid bya sheet and then revealed for… secondsfor each group. The participants then afterbeen given the estimate sheet also wrote down their own estimates. Thesesheets where then collected in and the group where debriefed on the true aimsof the study receiving a debrief form as well.
After the first 3 groups who hadreceived the blank estimate sheet, the mean average was then calculated fromthe participants answers and a chosen 3 fictitious estimates where gatheredbeing slightly higher than the mean. These 3 estimates where then seen on thenext 3 groups estimate sheets. Once a group had been debriefed and thanked,they would leave the room immediately having told their right to withdraw theirdata and the next group would come Iain mcgo1Isthis even supposed to be here ? maybe just talk about information sheet ,consent form, pasta and sheet to cover it also script Iain mcgo2Alreadybeen said, relevance?