Procedures Used in Social Influence Research and Whether They are Ethical

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Procedures Used in Social Influence Research and Whether They are Ethical

Psychologists such as Asch, Zimbardo and Milgrim have used various procedures in social influence research. These procedures can be ethically questioned in terms of consent, deception, protection of participants and the right to withdraw.

Asch 1951, 1982, and 1956 designed a straightforward task in which participants were presented with two cards. One card displayed a single ‘standard line’ while the other card displayed three ‘comparison lines’. Participants were asked which comparison line was of equal length to the standard line. In the experimental situation there was only true participant the rest were all
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Therefore because similar situations are bound to take place outside the experiment, Asch’s study is ecologically valid in this sense. Asch also used deception in his experiment by using confederates. These confederates deliberately gave the wrong answer in order to establish whether a true participant would conform. However if the true participant was aware that the other members of his group were confederates then the results would not be correct as the true participant would be, most probably, answering differently.

Zimbardo in 1973 created an experiment designed to investigate how readily people would adopt a new role and exercise the power attached to that role. Zimbardo recruited 25 male students to participate in a two week study of prison life. They were randomly assigned to the role of a prisoner or a guard. On arrival the prisoners were stripped down and given prison smocks with a number attached. From then on they were referred to by there number only. The guards were given shirts, trousers, dark glasses and carried wooden batons, whistles and handcuffs. The guards conformed to their new roles with such passion that the study had to be called off after six days. Prisoners obeyed the rules and even when one prisoner begun a hunger strike the others did exactly what they were told to do.

Zimbardo’s experiment shows the powers