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ABRAMS ET AL (1990)
Transcript of ABRAMS ET AL (1990)
The Abrams et al (1990) is a study on the effect that social identity has on an individual's rate of conformity (social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group.)
The Abrams et al study picks up where one of the great studies of psychology, Asch's 1951 study of psychology left off. While it's predecessor analyzes how individuals alter their behavior in order to fit in, the Abrams et al study looks at how an individual refrains or seeks to conform depending on how much he identifies with the individuals he is amidst.
The Abrams et al study consisted of 4 groups and had 2 independent variables. the first one being whether the confederates where from the same group as the individual (psychology student) or not (ancient history students) and the second one being whether the responses where public of private.
50 psychology students (23 M, 27 F) participated
In each trial the confederates and one actual participant, always at the end, sat in a row. In the instance where the answers were public, all four members answered aloud and the experimenter would record the participant's response. In the private condition, the researcher asked one of the participants (the actual subject) if he would record the responses so he could operate the computer, the 3 confederates then gave their answers aloud and the participant would record his response privately in the score sheet.
Preliminary analyses showed no differences in conformity according to sex. 77% of all participants conformed to the erroneous confederate judgements on at least one trial. The actual number of conforming responses was 138 out of 432 (32%) This is very similar to the results in the Ash experiments.
At the start of the experiment 3 confederates were introduced as either psychology or ancient history students from the same university as the individual. The participants were told not to talk to each other.
In the trials, the participants were shown a stimulus line, and then 3 other lines, one being the same as the stimulus line. They were then asked to match one of the 3 lines to the original one. There were 18 trials. In 9 of them the confederates gave the correct answer, and they gave an incorrect answer on the other 9.
ABRAMS ET AL (1990)
The level of conformity was maximized in the in-group public condition with a mean number of conforming responses of 5.23 and minimized in the out-group public condition (M=0.75). The level of conforming responses between in and out group private responses did not differ significantly (3.00 and 2.33 respectively)
This results indicate that social identity plays a key role in an individual's level of conformity.