In social psychology there are many researchers who investigated and challenged different theories within including well respected psychologists including; Sheriff(1935); Jenness(1932); Asch(1951); Crutchfield(1955) and Mann(1969). The aim of the study was; guessing how many sweeties were in the jar in a competition fashion and testing if the participants conformed to their guesses. The hypothesis was ‘ people would conform under group pressures of the pre-set guesses. The null hypothesis was that people would not conform under group pressures unless due to extraneous variables.
The experiment was a field experiment using the techniques of independent groups design. The experiment was dressed as a competition based on the following three conditions; high pre-set; control pre-set and low pre-set guesses. The group used random selection in three math classes with the senior pupils of three different levels (higher, intermediate one and intermediate two).
The IV (independent variable) that was used was the pre-set guesses and the DV (dependent variable) was the level of conformity performed by the participants. The conclusion of the results showed that 31. 5% of the high pre-set guesses conformed (in the reign of 40+), 23. 33% of the low pre-set guesses conformed (in the reign of -30) and 43. 48% of the control pre-set guesses conformed (within the reign of 25-45). The breakdown of the analysis for instance the mean of all conditions and overall, the range of all conditions and control(appendix 13). After the group completed the experiment thought was put into how testing conformity could be continued. The ideas from the experiment could lead to testing the intelligence levels of people who conform and test is this level of intelligence has an effect on the level of conformity.
Introduction Social psychology is an area in which investigations are made into the effects of behavioural differences of individuals and how they reflect on future behaviours patterns. Within social psychology there are different sub topics including the chosen topic of conformity. Social psychology studies the effect specific surroundings have on an individual. Conformity is when a person acts or reacts in an expected way or to yield to group pressures. This varies from peer pressure to pressures that the person is not actually aware of.
People conform for two reasons; Normative social influence; the feeling of having to fit in; informational social influence; the feeling of always having to be correct. Jenness(1932), Asch(1951), Crutchfield(1955) and Mann(1969) all studied conformity in different ways. Sheriff(1935) also used the auto kinetic theory to test conforming in specific situations, the auto kinetic effect is a visual illusion which tests observation skills in light movement. The participants were asked individually their answers and were apportioned to a similar answer group.
This is to test if the person will conform and the three will decide on an answer which is very similar. The conclusion from this is that in a situation which the participants had no confidence which the correct answer is they looked for a sense of guidance from the group to feel included. Due to the ambiguous nature of Sheriff’s research, Asch(1951) used a laboratory experiment with a group of participants. One ‘naive’ member of the group was removed and the remaining participants were shown a picture of three lines of different sizes.
The group was instructed to give a specific answer (incorrect) when the second question was asked to the ‘naive’ participant. When the ‘naive’ participant returned they were shown the three lines, and a single line, they were then asked to give their answer. This was a test to confirm whether the individual would go against the wrong answer of the group under pressure. The hypothesis was that the person who was removed would feel pressure to go against their instinct and go with the majority answer.
Crutchfield(1955) also used a conformity based theory of ‘the question booth pressure’ which investigated how the person conformed even though it was anonymous. 100 males were used in the study all average age of 34, their profession orientating around good obedience or leadership skills. This experiment was conducted ballot style; male participants joined into five groups in individual booths and were told to remain silent. Answers from the men showed similar wrong answers and questionability over their leadership skills in a group situation.
Mann(1969) also used other valid research to vary the terms used in describing aspects of conformity including; normative conformity and compliance which includes the fear of being rejected in a group situation. Informational conformity; level of ignorance, not knowing so turning for some kind of support and receiving it by copying the group (agreement with Sheriff). Internalisation; when the person publically conforms but personally disagrees (in agreement with the auto kinetic effect).
Ingratiation; is a need for some kind of reward for conforming Finally the last term used is non-conformity which is the term used for not yielding to group pressures for reasons which include; individuality and trusting their own judgement, or just going against the group’s decision to rebel. Jenness(1932) conducted an experiment with a jar of beans, participants had to correctly guess the number of beans the jar contained. Pre-recorded guesses (the IV) were written prematurely to test conformity, a base line of whether other guesses were influenced by this issue.
This unknown pressure was effective as the finding came that the guesses did in fact have an effect on the other participants. This theory was seen as very useful, as the group used this same idea in their experiment. The groups aim was to test conformity when guessing how many sweeties were in the jar in a competitive fashion. For this experiment at study, the experimental hypothesis was; people will conform under group pressures of the pre-set guesses in order to feel included and correct.
The null hypothesis was; people will not conform under group pressures of the pre-set guesses in order to feel included or correct unless due to extraneous variables; conforming in result of bullying, personal problems with the individual and intentional corruption of the experiment . The independent variables (IV) were the pre-set guesses made on the sheets before given to the participants. The dependant variables (DV) was the answers which should be averaged around the pre-set guesses. Method Design
The experimental method used was a field design involving independent measures. This design was selected as it was felt that if a field situation was used it would help the problem of ecological validity and loosen experimental tensions. This experiment was conducted in three mathematics classrooms. One of these classrooms were of three levels; intermediate 1, intermediate 2 and higher. When the group entered the class, there were three sheets; one high pre-set, one low pre-set and one control pre-set sheet.
These sheets were given to the three rows in the class (the layout of all math classes). The control technique that was used was that each sheet was strictly kept between each of the assigned rows. The independent variable was the pre-set guesses, with the conditions of the IV being high, low and control pre-set guesses. The dependent variable is the participant’s guesses. The selected group member stated the standardised instructions; which was clearly said to all classes; as soon as we entered the class. Also the mood/ general emotions of the class were noted.
Experimental methods used include; the brief verbal request; which asked if the chosen pupils wanted to participate. The standardised instructions; stated consistently by one group member. The standardised instructions(appendix 13) stated that it was a competition, there was a prize, it was free of charge and anyone who did not want to take part did not have to. A list was made to make sure all group members were fully aware of their roles including sheets they were responsible for. The response sheets with the pre-set guesses were collected and put on a table (appendix 12) to be analysed.
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