The River Thames outside DLD College London

Conformity Research by Psychology Students

24th November 21

This week, Year 12 Psychology students conducted research on conformity for the social influence topic they are currently studying.

“We investigated how students conform based on the behaviour of the rest of the group. We found students using a convenience sample, so asked students around college conveniently selected from the study areas, the Global Kitchen, and other parts of the school.

During the experiment, participants were asked to estimate the number of sweets in a jar without opening it and to submit their answers individually. Then, participants were asked to take part in a group discussion where each person shared their estimation and explained how they got to their number. Finally, participants were asked to estimate the number again, and to give their answers in front of the rest of the group. However, the majority of the participants were confederates who were told in advance by the researchers to give out a pre-arranged answer of around 280 sweets (when there were actually 497 sweets).

This experiment is similar to the bean jar experiment conducted by Jenness (1932) and generated similar results. In the experiment conducted by the Psychology students, 80% of the participants changed their answers and conformed to the group’s answer, which led to the conclusion that most people would be influenced by and conform to the group.

Overall, this experiment was a fun and practical experience for students of the Year 12 Psychology class as it allowed them to learn how Psychology research is conducted, which was both beneficial for their practical skills and essential to success in this course. On top of that, the processes of putting together the experiment along with recruiting the participants was interesting, and the results of the experiment were surprising despite knowing the results of the Jenness experiment. We thought DLD students and a few staff members would not conform.”

Hayek, Year 12 A level Psychology student