Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Method: a method is a procedure agreed on by participants of a discussion or research project. In the case of violations of a method, the comparability of the results is in particular questioned, since these no longer come from a set with uniformly defined properties of the elements.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Solomon E. Asch on Method - Dictionary of Arguments

Haslam I 84
Method/conformity/line-judgment study/Asch: in his line-judgment studies (Asch 1952(1); 1955(3)) the participant finds himself within a group of others [who are no real participants but assistants to the experimenter, which the participant does not know]. Cards with lines of different lengths are shown and the group is asked to judge whether the lines are equal or different in length. After a while all of the group except the real participant judge in a obviously wrong way.
By making one response obviously right, and (…) other responses obviously wrong a context was created whereby, due to the clarity of the judgment, there was very little need to gather information from others about what the right response would be.
Haslam I 85
As Asch himself mentioned, the simplicity of the set-up also contributed to conformity in another way: ‘The individual had nothing to “gain” by acting one way or another; usual considerations of interest were excluded’ (1952: 469). This is precisely what one participant mentioned when discussing his responses afterwards. He said: ‘If it had been a political question, I don’t think I’d have agreed if I had a different feeling … I probably wanted my own ideas, but it was easiest to string along’ (Asch, 1952(2): 471).

1. Asch, S.E. (1951) ‘Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgment’, in H. Guetzkow (ed.), Groups, Leadership and Men. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Press. pp. 177–90.
2. Asch, S.E. (1952) Social Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
3. Asch, S.E. (1955) ‘Opinions and social pressure’, Scientific American, 193: 31–5.

Matthew J. Hornsey and Jolanda Jetten, “Conformity. Revisiting Asch’s line-judgment studies”, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Asch, Solomon E.
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017

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