Discuss the Factors Affecting the Rates of Conformity

10 October 2016

He carried out his experiment by seven participants; only having one real subject seat on the end of the row and the rest confederates who called out the letter of the line out of three of which was identical to that of the first. The conformity was evident as the confederates answered with the wrong answer during 12 out of the 18 trials carried out known as the critical trials ,of which blatantly was dissimilar to that of the one they were comparing to however the subject conformed.

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The results finally proved that 32% went along with the confederates who meant that they conformed to majority influence when they knew their answers were wrong. 74% conformed only once and to only 26% of the participants who never conformed at all. He concluded that this was because of either normative social influence which is that the subjects felt compelled to conform as they would otherwise be rejected. The other of which were due to informational pressures, where they believed that perhaps the others knew more than them.

Fortunately Asch continued his experiment further by altering the procedure where the independent variable was changed. One of which is when one other participant didn’t conform and this decreased the level of conformity by 5%. This shows that when not alone the levels of conformity levels fall so the individual is no longer following the majority. Also when the size of majority affected the results as when they decreased to only two people conformity 12. 8 of their own judgement. When losing a partner resulted in conformity levels of 28. % when the subject was initially supported but then midway the supporting confederate no longer did. On the other hand when a participant began the experiment as the minority then was supported midway reduced the conformity by 8. 7%. Later the task was made more difficult which then lead to an increase in the levels of conformity. Crutchfield-1955 carried out research on Individual Differences where they were sat in cubicles and questions projected onto a screen. This is when on one side the participants were the answers given by other participants. These answers were mostly incorrect and made up.

Conformity was measured by the number of times participants would go along with these incorrect answers. He supported Asch’s line comparison as he also found the conformity levels were 30% and that as the difficulty of the task increased the conformity did too. There are also other factors that determine conformity other than the above mentioned such as: cultural differences as well as gender. For instance Smith and Bond-1993 compared the results of studies which simulated the Asch experiment worldwide- meta-analysis. This showed that the levels of conformity was 30% which showed a decrease by 7% from Asch’s’ experiment.

There was evident variation amongst the countries so from Indian teachers in Fiji the rate was 58% which compared to Belgian students was 14% which is a drastic difference that implies cultural differences could possibly affect the rates of conformity. Also the societies differ from country to country as the United Kingdom is that people live lives based on their personal will so the their conformity would be lower or higher based on personal judgment. On the other hand further east in Asian countries such as India or China are collectivistic as they believe what is best for the group thereby increasing the rates of conformity.

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