Asch’s Conformity Experiment

To investigate the extent to which people conform to a majority decision in unambiguous situations.

– 123 American male students
-groups of 6(ish) – 1 naive and 5 stooges
-standard line: 3 comparison lines
-12 critical trials + 6 neutral trials = 18 total trials
-neutral = stooges saying correct answer
-critical = stooges all saying wrong answers
-measured conformity by recording how often the naive participant gave the same wrong answer as the stooges
-neutral and critical trials interspersed so participants did not guess the aim of the experiment

32% = conformity rate = naive participants agred with the incorrect answers given by the majority in 1/3 of critical trials
75% = conformed at least once
25% = never conformed

Asch’s research shows the power which majority influence can have on an individual. It also suggests that the need for acceptance can override the opinion of a person. This shows compliance with majority belief, despite private disagreement, within the study suggesting the prevalence of normative social influence