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Moscovici & Facheaux’s aim was to see if and how a minority affects conformity to the majority. They were being tested for eyesight and colour vision. The group of 6 were shown 36 slides, which were all different shades of blue, and were asked to speak out the colour of slide loud. There were 2 confederates in the group whole deliberately answered wrong. They always said the slides were green and were very confident in their answers. Their behaviour towards each other was very friendly and they both agreed on their answers. However, 4 others were not told about the aims, they were inconsistent and answered green 24 times, and blue 12 times.

The results were that, if the 2 confederates were very consistent, positive and friendly, then the majority of the remainder could be persuaded that the slides were green, however if the confederates were inconsistent there would be a decrease in conformity. The evidence to this is that, when the confederates were consistent in their answers, conformity rose to 8.42%, whereas inconsistency of answers only showed 1.25% rise. The conclusion to this study is that a minority could influence the majority views only if they were consistent, and positive in their answers.

Another study to show how group pressure can change peoples attitudes, beliefs and opinions to a certain task as proved by Jenness study. Jenness was the first person to study conformity. In his experiment, he had bottle full of beans with the participants in one room, and he asked them to give a group estimate of the amount of beans in the bottle. After the estimates were taken, he then interviewed the participants separately and ask them whether they would like to change their previous answer, or stay with the group estimated. Jenness found out that the majority changed their individual guesses closer to the group estimate.

Hypothesis

There will be a significant difference in the amount of conformity shown by the minority when they are shown answers of majority regarding the estimates of sweets in a jar compared to when the minority are not shown answers from the majority. There will be 2 hypothesis for this study. The first one being a one tailed hypothesis. There will be an increase in conformity by the minority participants only, when the minority are shown answers of the majority of the estimation of sweets in a jar. However, if the minority are not shown the majority answers of the estimation of sweets in a jar , there will be a decrease in conformity. The second hypothesis is a null hypothesis. There will be no significant difference in the amount of conformity shown by the minority when they are shown answers of majority regarding the estimates of sweets in a jar compared to when the minority are not shown answers from the majority.

Method – Design The experimental design that will be carried out is a field experiment and will be carried out in the natural settings of the participants. One main reason why field experiment has been chosen is that, there will be less demand characteristics as participants may not know they are in an experiment. Furthermore, there is high ecological validty in field experiments as participants will be unaware that they are in a experiment, and answer naturally. On the other hand, if a lab experiment design was chosen, under control settings, demand characteristics are more likely thus participants are more likely to guess the aim of the experiment and act in a way that may help the experimenter. Furthermore, cause and effect relationships can be identified as there is an IV and DV.

The Independent variable is whether the minority participants are shown previous and majority estimations of sweets in a jar or not. The Dependant Variable is the change that occurs as a result of the independent variable. The dependant variable is whether participants conform to the majority or not. The experiment will have 2 conditions and experimenter will be using an independent measures design. This is so that the hypothesis can be concluded by comparing results from both conditions.

Therefore, the experimenter can check whether showing majority answers or nots affects conformity in participants (cause and effect can be identified. 20 subjects will do the first experiment, 20 different subjects will be doing the second experiment. A large number of participants have been chosen for each condition to give better, fair and accurate results and so that. The participants will try to estimate the number of sweets in a jar. In the 1st condition participants will be shown the majority results. On the other hand, participants from the 2nd experiment will not be shown the majority results. This is so that the results can help conclude the hypothesis and aim.

Independent measures design would be most suitable for this study, as there are less demand characteristics, this is because if the same subjects were used in both conditions they would probably guess that they are involved in an experiment, thus they may give different answers. Furthermore, there will be no order effects, subjects will be wanting to take part in the study as the experiment is quick, easy and participants only take part in the experiment once. On the other hand, if they were told to do experiment a second time, they would be more frustrated, or even give a better answer or they may just give a stupid answer.

Ethics

The experiment involves quite a lot of ethical issues which need to be identified and resolved. Participants in the experiment should not be affected in anyway and must be left in the same state as before e.g. The first ethical issue is consent, the experimenter must provide consent form with terms, conditions, and other details regarding the experiment to the participants. The consent form will give participants information about their right to withdraw from the experiment, and guarantee them about the confidentiality of their results. Participants were also told by the experimenter that they had the right to withdraw during any time of the investigation and that their results were safe + secure (will not get in to anyone’s hands). The experimenter will give participants the consent form to sign to say they agree to take part and agree to everything that is on the consent form is anonymous + secure from other people viewing their details.

The second ethical issue is deception which may occur in the experiment. If participants have any queries or questions to the experimenter, he cannot withhold the truth and the experimenter must give a true and honest opinion on the subject matter. Participants will also be told in the consent form that the experimenter cannot refuse to hold the truth. Thirdly is debriefing, the experimenter will tell each participant about the aims and objectives of the experiment, this will be done after all participants have estimated the sweets in a jar and the experiment is complete. Fourthly, participants will be told in the consent form that they have the right to withdraw themselves from the experiment and leave. Finally, it is the experimenters responsibility that participants should be protected from any kind of physiological, psychological distress or even harm.

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