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Running head: ASCHS CONFORMITY EXPERIMENT

ASCHS CONFORMITY EXPERIMENT

ASCHS CONFORMITY EXPERIMENT

INTRODUCTION
In 1951, Solomon Asch performed an experiment, known as Aschs Conformity Experiment, to
test how an individuals resolve can be persuaded to change in a group environment. In the
experiment, Solomon gave cards to a group of nine college students and asked them to
participate in a perceptual experiment where they were asked which line was the longest. First,
he created a test case where the students were asked individually which line was the longest.
Then, these same individuals were placed in a room full of confederates, participants who had
been informed to say certain answers at a given time, and asked what line was the longest after
each confederate had given an answer. From that experiment, it was found that when in a group
environment the resolve of the group has a prominent effect on an individuals decision. In fact,
75%1 of the time, subjects were tricked into agreeing to the wrong answer simply because the
majority had claimed that it was the right answer. Therefore, the study carried out in this report
will replicate Solomons Aschs experiment in order to test its validity.

HYPOTHESIS
Based on prior knowledge of the study, I believe that the outcome of the experiment will be
similar to the results that Solomon Asch found during his experiment. I believe that when placed
in a room of 4 confederates, most of the subjects will conform to the pressure instilled by the
confederates, thus will concur with their answers. This is because as human beings, we tend to
succumb to peer pressure, especially when the group is large. Moreover, I believe that this trend
will be similar regardless of who the test subject is. Therefore, the performance of the each group
will be relatively the same.

METHOD
In order to maintain the authenticity of the experiment and not skew the results in any way, male
participants within the same age group were chosen to participate in this experiment. However,
instead of using nine subjects as mentioned earlier in the report, a total of 10 participants, of
which 4 were randomly chosen confederates, was chosen. The 4 confederates were taken into a
room where they were informed that they were supposed to give the same correct answer in the
first two trials of the experiment (i.e. A then C) and give the same wrong answer in the last trial
1 Dr Dewey, Asch (1951): Conformity

ASCHS CONFORMITY EXPERIMENT

i.e. C. After they were informed of what to do, the first true subject was asked to enter the room
and was told to seat in the last seat around the table. The test commenced and the fake
participants were asked to state loudly which line was the longest. Eventually, it was the subjects
turn and they also stated their answer. This test was carried out for the remaining 5 individuals
and the results were tabulated.

RESULTS
Below is a table summarizing the results of the study that was performed on 6 true participants.
Table 1: Summary of True Participants Responses
Trial
Number
1
2
3

Subject 1
A
C
C

Subject 2
A
C
C

Subject 3
A
C
B

Subject 4
A
C
C

Subject 5
C
A
B

Subject 6
A
C
B

On average 50 percent of the participants conformed with the confederates and answered with
the wrong choice in the third trial.

DISCUSSION
According to the results tabulated in Table 1 above, three out of the six participants responded
with the wrong choice due to group pressure in the third trial. The other three participants
responded with the true answer refusing to conform with the rest of the group. Moreover, it was
noticed that subject 5 answered with the wrong answers during the first and second trial and
answered with the true answer in the third trial. This was most likely due to the fact that this test
subject was skeptical during the whole experiment and decided to deliberately choose answers
that contradicted with the answers of the rest of the group. Although half of the participants
agreed with the group, thus reciting the wrong answer during the third trial, the results of the
study go against the hypothesis stated ealier. This could have been due to the limitation of having
a small sample group, which resulted in less tests to compare to the orginal test. Also, the
presence of subject 5 might have skewed the results of the experiment slightly due to his
unwillingness to cooperate. Overall, this experiment shows that social groups, even those outside
of the experiment, have the ability to greatly influence the decisions of some individuals.

ASCHS CONFORMITY EXPERIMENT

References
Dewey, R. (n.d.). Asch (1951): Conformity. Retrieved November 19, 2014, from
http://www.intropsych.com/ch15_social/asch_1951_conformity.html