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Psychological Experiments Overview

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 6 (1395 words)
Categories: Case Study, Psychology, Yourself
Downloads: 47
Views: 2

Asch 1956 Conformity

This was a study of perception. Image yourself as a participant. Assume that you are seated at a table with six other students. Your task is quite simple: you are shown three lines on a card and you must select the line that matches a standard line. As the testing begins, each person announces an answer for the first card. When your turn comes, you agree with the others. For several more trials, your answers agree wit those of the group.

Then comes a shock. All six people announce a different answer than what you were going to state. And yet, you agree with them; you conform. The other students were all actors who gave the wrong answer 37% of the time to create group pressure. This study was an experiment. There was a comparison condition/controlled condition. Asch used people sitting by themselves going through the same stimuli. The independent variable was the number of actors providing the wrong answer.

The dependent variable was the level of conformity.

There were two strengths to this study. One, it was a highly controlled experimental set-up. There was a control group and a group with other people, meaning that any major difference in results is only going to be due to that one change. Two, the participants were asked after the experiment why they conformed. This gave the experimenters some ideas as to why people conformed, not just the fact that they did. The limitations for this study was that the participants were stressed when the actors gave the wrong answers and were put in an embarrassing situation, which can appear to be unethical. Participants did not provide informed consent as they were misled about the key aspects of the experiment. As well, all participants were male which created a limited sample. I have learned that this experiment was normative conformity. We change our behaviour(s) because we want the approval of others.

Milgram (1963) Obedience

This study looked at cultural differences. It was based on Asch’s 1956 study. To start off the experiment a coin was flipped to determine who the learner and teacher were. By chance, the participant becomes the teacher. The participant’s task was to read a list of word pairs. The learner’s task was to memorize them. an electric shock is administered if the learner makes a mistake. The learner is taken to an adjacent room where he is seated in an electric chair. The participant is then seated in front of the shock generator. The machine ranges from 15 to 450 volts. The participant must begin with 15 volts and make one switch higher for each additional mistake.

The learner is getting every question wrong. The learner moans from the shocks. At 100 volts, he complains that he has a heart condition. At 150 volts, he says that he no longer wants to continue and demands to be released. At 300 volts, he screams and says he no longer can give answers. The research tells the participant to go on as the study requires him to continue. 65 percent of people went to 450 volts where 20 percent stopped at 150 volts. Those who participated in this study were shaking, sighing, arguing with the researcher and laughing but they would still continue with the experiment. Milgram’s study was a series of social psychology experiments. He wanted to see how far people would go in obeying an instruction if it involved harming another person. The dependent variable was the amount of shock administered. The independent variable was the initial conditions of the experiment (e.g. whether the learner and teacher were in the same room).

There were two strengths of Milgram’s study. One, the experiment was reliable. It can be replicated and the results are consistent. Two, the information that was gained has been proven useful in understanding why people commit certain crimes. There were limitations as well. One, the right to withdrawal was not made explicit at the beginning of the experiment. Some subjects felt obligated to continue as they were getting paid. Two, Milgram put his participant’s health at risk. Their mental health may have been affected by the tasks they were asked to do. He had them leaving knowing that they were going to kill somebody. Three, the sample was made up of all men. Therefore, it was biased. I have learned that this study has been re ” did in many different ways (e.g. Burger (2009) and Orne & Evans (1965). Philip Zimbardo (1971) ”

Stanford Prison Experiment

Phil Zimbardo at Stanford University paid typical male university students to play the role of either prisoners or guards in a stimulated prison; randomly assigned. Within a few days, the guards clamped down with increasing brutality. In a surprisingly short time, the fake convicts looked like real prisoners. They were dejected, traumatized, passive and dehumanized. After six days, the experiment had to be halted. The ascribed social roles were so powerful that in just a few days, the experiment became reality for those involved. This was a social psychology experiment that attempted to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers. The independent variable is the conditions the participants are assigned to. Either the prisoner or guard. The dependent variable is the participants resulting behaviour.

A strength in this experiment was that it gave a more detailed look into obedience. Particularly, how the participants acted as a cause of the situation not due to their own personalities. A limitation in this experiment focused more on the ethics; particularly the distress it caused the prisoners. A number of prisoners experienced deterioration’s in their psychological health and as a result five of the prisoners were removed from the experiment as well as the experiment eventually being shut down. I have learned that when we identify with and value a particular group, our memory for group members is far superior to our memory for individuals who are not part of the group.

Sally Ann Experiment (1983)

Two dolls, one called Sally and the other called Anne, are presented to the child. The child is then told that Sally has a basket and that Anne has a box. Next the child is told that Sally puts a marble insider her basket. Sally then leaves and goes outside where she can no longer see her basket. While Sally is away Anne takes the marble from Sally’s basket and puts it inside her box. The child is told that Sally comes back inside. Finally, Sally returns to the room, and the child is asked three questions: Where will Sally look for her marble? (The belief question), Where is the marble really? (The reality question) and Where was the marble at the beginning? (The memory question).

The critical question is the belief question ” if children answer this by pointing to the basket, then they have shown an appreciation that Sally’s understanding of the world doesn’t reflect the actual state of affairs. If they instead point to the box, then they fail the task, arguably because they haven’t taken into account that they possess knowledge that Sally doesn’t have access to. This is a psychological test, used in developmental psychology to measure a person’s social cognitive ability to attribute false beliefs to others. The independent variable is the marble. The dependent variable is the child.

The strength of this experiment is that it uses the Theory of Mind: ability to understand your own and other people’s beliefs, desires, intentions and emotions. The Theory of Mind is important because the ability to make inferences about what other believe to be the case in a given situations allows one to predict what they will do (Baron ” Cohen, Leslie, and Frith, 1985). A limitation to this experiment is that individuals with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cocaine addiction, and brain damage have a more difficult understanding of the beliefs, knowledge and thoughts of others, and therefore have limited ability to keep track of why others behave as they do. This inhibits their ability to monitor, ascribe motive to, and predict others’ behaviour. I learned that this experiment was used to understand deception and surprise. It enables us to empathize. To empathize with others, we need to see the world from their point of view; understand their thoughts and feelings.

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Psychological Experiments Overview. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/psychological-experiments-overview-essay

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