When comparing results regarding the amount of conformity shown between experiment 1 and 2 a conclusion can be made. This is because experiment 1 shows a large amount of conformity when minority are shown the majority results. However, experiment 2 only shows a very small amount of conformity when minority are not shown majority results. Therefore the experimenter has decided to accept the experimental hypothesis which is “There will be an increase in conformity by the minority participants only, when the minority are shown answers of the majority” + “if the minority are not shown the majority answers, there will be a decrease in conformity” . However, the experimenter has decided to reject the null hypothesis, as it is not possible to accept both experimental and null hypothesis. Furthermore, null hypothesis has been rejected because it can clearly be seen from my graph and pie chart that showing majority results certainly affects conformity.
From the results gained from experiment 1 and experiment 2. There is a significant difference in the amount of conformity shown by the minority participants compared with minority participants in experiment 2. Because experiment 1 participants were shown the majority results a very high percentage of 71% conformity was made. On the other hand, a very small percentage of 14% conformity was made by minority participants in experiment 2 as they were not shown majority results. The experimenter has decided to accept the experimental hypothesis, basically because cause and effect could be identified.
This means that the fact that participants are shown majority results and not shown majority results makes a lot of difference in the estimation of sweets in a jar and the amount of conformity overall. The experimenter rejected the null hypothesis which was “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” . As the experimenter decided to use participants aged 16-19, the experiment could be said to be unfair, because we the hypothesis is not to see how age affects conformity but how minority is affected by majority.
The results recorded may have been affected because of participants age. Because all participants were young, they are more likely to conform just by looking at other results. On the other hand if participants aged above this range i.e adults, the results could have been completely different and they hypothesis may not have been accepted. Therefore, the results the experimenter recorded i.e results show that minority conform to majority when shown previous results, could be because of the age range of participants.
If this experimenter had to do the experiment another time, instead of choosing participants aged 16-19, he would choose all aged participants. This would make the test more fair. Furthermore, the results will be unbiased. As the experiment took place in the natural setting of participants there was high ecological validity. This means it was less likely for them to know that they are in an experiment compared to an experiment which took place in a certain room on a one to one basis. Another improvement which could be made to the experiment is by asking participants the estimation of sweets in a jar in one group where each participant can hear other participants estimation. By doing this the minority maybe more likely to conform just to be accepted as part of the group compared to asking participants opinion on a one to one basis. Using a one to one basis means there is less pressure on the participant and he would more likely give his true honest opinion.
Relationship to Background Research
The study took place to see how minority results were affected by the majority results. Furthermore, it took place to see whether showing results of the majority or not made a difference in conformity. The study which the experimenter studied was linked and similar to few studies done by psychologists regarding conformity. The study was similar to the moscovici and facheaux study which was to see if and how a minority affects conformity to the majority, however this study was opposite I.e how minority is affected by the majority.
Conclusions and Implications
From the results as mentioned above the experimenter has accepted the experimental hypothesis and there is some evidence in this essay to say that minority conform to a majority view. However, this is the first time this experiment has been done, thus it is not reliable and we would certainly not get the same results as found in this experiment. The findings found from this experiment are slightly beneficial to our understanding of psychology as we do know that minority conform to a majority view. However, more experiments regarding conformity are needed to see if the results are always similar.
Overall the experiment was successful as a clear conclusion had been found and the experimental hypothesis was accepted. However there were some limitations during and before the experiment which may have affected results, thus affect the conclusion. Firstly, due to the experiment taking place in the college canteen at a busy period i.e lunch break. There was a very large amount of noise, especially where the experiment was taking place. This may have affected peoples estimates as they may have rushed their estimate and maybe just give a random number. Secondly, the atmosphere which was very warm, therefore they may have been a little stressed which may have affected peoples ability to think and guess the amount of sweets in a jar.
Suggestion for improvement
There are many things which the experimenter could improve on to bring on a better and successful experiment. However, some factors are very difficult and time consuming e.g. using a random sampling method which could give more fair and accurate results. The first improvement which the experimenter could make if the experiment was to be repeated is the time of the experiment. As the experiment took place during a very busy lunch hour, participants may have been affected by the temperature (too warm) and the level of noise in the canteen. Thus a suitable time would be after lunch during lesson time.
This means that there will still be students in the canteen but a lesser amount will be available, thus there is less noise and there is a suitable temperature. Furthermore, by choosing a suitable time besides the lunch break e.g. during free periods, participants are more readily willing to participate in the experiment, as they are in their free time. They are less likely to rush the experiment. Another improvement which could be made to the experiment is to use more participants. This is because the experiment had a minority and a majority, and the amount of minority participants was only 7. Thus the conclusion gained from the experiment “minority conform to a majority” may have occurred by luck and the minority may not have necessarily conformed. However, if more participants were chosen overall for each condition i.e 40 more accurate results would have been found.
Suggetions for further research
There are many different types of ways in which this experiment can be developed by making changes. One main change which could be made is age. To prepare an experiment which shows how age affects conformity. In one condition there could be young teenagers doing the same experiment, and in another condition adults e.g. above 30 could be used. This way we could reach a conclusion to see whether or not age affects conformity. Furthermore, jenness’s study which is described briefly in the introduction could be used with slight changes. An experiment using the same task as this experiment i.e sweets in a jar could be done, however the aim would be to see how the majority are affected by the minority.
Pennington, D. (2002) Introducing Psychology, Hodder and Stoughton. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformity_(psychology).