Introduction: from three comparison lines. The participants had



Conformity is a type of social
influence involving a change in belief or behaviour in order to fit in with a
group. Sometimes can be defined as ignoring
your own knowledge and going with a majority “yielding to group pressures”
(Crutchfield, 1955). This is more
commonly known as peer pressure, for example, people smoking or drinking at a
young age due to the pressures in society among friendship groups or family
etc. Jennes (1932) carried out an experimental investigation in order to
truly understand the effects of conformity
amongst groups. The study included a jar full of beans and allowed groups of 4
participants to make an estimation of how many jelly beans where in the jar.
The group was then allowed to chat about answers and then able to make a second
estimation. It was found that on the second estimation, the groups answer had
converged, i.e. they had all conformed slightly to each other. Deutsch and Gerrard (1955) gave two key
explanations of conformity that have been vital in every study regarding
effects of conformity. Firstly, Informational conformity, this usually
takes place due to a person being in an unusual situation or lacks knowledge on
the task therefore takes on the groups beliefs adopting them as their own.
Lastly, normative conformity, this
usually means that the person is only conforming to another view or answer to
fit in and not be rejected by the group. In many cases this means that the
individual still keeps their own view whilst publically accepting another.


Studies similar to Jenness, have also helped further our
knowledge in conformity and have only made the study’s results stronger. Such
as, Asch’s (1956) experiment where he used male participants in
groups of four, only one being the ‘real’ participant and the others
confederates. Participants undertook trials where they were shown a line and
had to pick one of matching length from three comparison lines. The
participants had to call out there answers with the real participant being
after the confederates who were deliberately calling out the wrong answers. The
study resulted in 75% of the 123 participants calling out the wrong answer at
least once. Another experiment was Sheriff (1935) when he released a famous
study called the auto-kinetic effect, participants were put into a blacked out
room where a single dot of light shone onto a screen, and this created an
illusion where the light although still looked like it was moving. Participants
were asked where and how far had the spot moved, there first answers being very
diverse, however once they were able to chat to other participants, their
answers had converged greatly.




The aim of this study was to replicate Jenness (1932) Bean
Jar experiment; to research the levels of conformity among grouped participants
undergoing an ambiguous task when knowing previous group answers. This study
has avoided using a group discussion as it may put participants in an awkward
situation and/or feel judged by their own answers, therefore due to ethical
considerations has been changed. Participants may also collectively guess aims
when able to have a discussion. The experiment also
uses pasta in a packet rather than beans in a jar.




Looking at previous studies such as Jennes (1932) where
almost all participants’ answers converged, and Asch’s (1956) study where 75%
of participants conformed at least once to the groups decisions we are able to
create an experimental hypothesis: When guessing how many pieces of pasta there
is in a packet, the mean average of the group exposed to the fictitious
estimate sheet will be higher than the mean than the group that where given a blank
estimate sheet.


Null hypothesis:


There is no difference
between the estimates as the groups exposed to the fictitious estimates than
the groups with a blank sheet. Conformity does not take place.
















study was carried out as a lab experiment, this helps avoid and control
extraneous variables. Note that the original study did use a group discussion;
however, this was eliminated and substituted in a fictitious estimate sheet.


independent measures to carry out the experiment, one half of the participants
were given a blank estimate sheet and the other with a fictitious estimate
sheet. Thus being the independent variable – only half seeing a ‘higher than
average’ fictitious estimate sheet. The dependent variable of the experiment
was measuring the levels of conformity between the first and second set of
groups. To control the experiment, a script was used to
avoid any extraneous variables such as giving away the true aim of the study.
Also, a group discussion was avoided and replaced with a fictitious estimate
sheet for half of the participants again to avoid groups discovering the true
aims or raising any ethical issues.




The target population of the experiment was …… The sample group was selected through
opportunity sampling inside the college, i.e. asking students if they could
take part. The participants were put in groups of 4, of 24 students. This
allowed 3 groups to participate with a blank estimate sheet and the other 3 to
participate with a fictitious estimate sheet. The ages ranged amongst the
randomly allocated participants from 16-28 years
old, the mean being 19.7years with a complete split of 50/50 male and
female. The people where then randomly allocated into
groups on a first come first served basis.



The researchers initially gave participants an information
sheet and a consentIain mcgo1  form when approached on taking part in the study.
The experiment also used a bag of pasta (with a sheet to cover it) and included
a blank estimate sheet or a fictitious estimate sheet for participants to write
their own on. The researchers also stuck to a strict script when carrying out
the investigation, afterwards also received a debriefing sheet. (All sheets
included in the appendices see page -)




Participants where gathered during lunch hours, with exactly half being male and Iain mcgo2 female. The participants in groups of 4 where
brought to an empty psychology lab-room and seated at a desk, each participant
a meter away from each other at opposite sides with the bag of pasta in the
middle of the desk. The group where given an information sheet and a consent
form agreeing they were over the age of 16 and hadn’t previously taken

4 researchers stayed in the class during the investigation to read the
script out to the participants as instructions. The pasta was initially hid by
a sheet and then revealed for… seconds
for each group. The participants then after
been given the estimate sheet also wrote down their own estimates. These
sheets where then collected in and the group where debriefed on the true aims
of the study receiving a debrief form as well. After the first 3 groups who had
received the blank estimate sheet, the mean average was then calculated from
the participants answers and a chosen 3 fictitious estimates where gathered
being slightly higher than the mean. These 3 estimates where then seen on the
next 3 groups estimate sheets. Once a group had been debriefed and thanked,
they would leave the room immediately having told their right to withdraw their
data and the next group would come

 Iain mcgo1Is
this even supposed to be here ? maybe just talk about information sheet ,
consent form, pasta and sheet to cover it also script

 Iain mcgo2Already
been said, relevance?

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