Management Notes

Reference Notes for Management

In Asch’s study on conformity, what contributed to the ability of subjects to resist conforming?

In Asch’s study on conformity, what contributed to the ability of subjects to resist conforming?

 Options:

a. A very small group of witnesses
b. The presence of an ally
c. The ability to keep one’s answer private
d. All of the above

The Correct Answer Is:

d. All of the above

Explanation of the Correct Answer: d. All of the above

In Solomon Asch’s seminal study on conformity, participants were presented with a line judgment task in which they had to match a standard line with one of three comparison lines.

The critical aspect of the study was that the majority of the participants were actually confederates, instructed to give incorrect answers on certain trials.

This created a situation where the real participant had to decide whether to conform to the incorrect majority opinion or stick to their own judgment. The ability of subjects to resist conforming was influenced by several factors, all of which are encompassed in option (d) “All of the above”:

a. A very small group of witnesses:

In Asch’s study, when the number of confederates giving incorrect answers was reduced from a majority to just one or two, the pressure to conform significantly decreased.

When only one other person provided an incorrect response, participants were more likely to trust their own judgment and resist conforming to the erroneous majority. This suggests that the size of the opposing group has a substantial impact on an individual’s likelihood to conform.

b. The presence of an ally:

When a participant had the support of even just one other person who gave the correct answer, it greatly reduced the likelihood of conformity. This ally acted as a buffer against the pressure to conform to the majority.

The presence of a dissenting voice provided participants with reassurance that they were not alone in their correct judgment.

c. The ability to keep one’s answer private:

In some variations of Asch’s study, participants were allowed to write down their answers privately rather than announcing them aloud. When this option was available, conformity rates dropped significantly.

This is because without the social pressure of publicly announcing their response, participants felt more comfortable relying on their own perceptions and judgments.

Now, let’s discuss why the other options are not correct:

a. A very small group of witnesses:

While having a smaller group size can indeed reduce the pressure to conform, it is not the only factor at play. Even in a small group, if there is no dissenting voice or if participants are still required to publicly announce their answers, conformity may still occur.

Therefore, while a small group size can be helpful, it is not the sole factor contributing to resistance against conformity.

b. The presence of an ally:

This option is actually a contributing factor to the ability to resist conforming, as mentioned above. When there is an ally present who provides the correct answer, it significantly reduces the pressure to conform.

So, the presence of an ally is a valid factor that contributes to resistance against conformity.

c. The ability to keep one’s answer private:

This factor is indeed a significant contributor to the ability to resist conforming. When participants have the option to keep their answers private, they are less influenced by the social pressure of the group.

However, this alone may not be enough to ensure resistance against conformity, as other factors such as the presence of an ally can also play a crucial role.

In summary, all three factors mentioned in option (d) play a crucial role in a person’s ability to resist conforming in Asch’s study. A combination of a small group size, the presence of an ally, and the option to keep one’s answer private provides the strongest conditions for individuals to maintain their independent judgment.

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