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Solomon ASch: Prejudice and Discrimination

Question: Assume that you are employed by a major social psychology or social policy research laboratory in the United States. Your lab is interested in studying prejudice and discrimination in the marketing industry. Each researcher at the lab has been tasked with brainstorming research ideas. Briefly outline your ideas for research including: (1) the social psychology perspective(s) that the study you propose will employ, (2) the topic and focus of the study, (3) a brief description of the methodology you propose to use, and (4) a justification for why the other researcher's should support your ideas.

Using the Scientific American article 'Opinions and Social Pressure' (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, November 1955 Volume 193, Issue 5), as well as 'Asch's Social Psychology: Not as Social as You May Think' by Jacques-Phillip Leyens and Olivier Cornelle, and 'Social Psychology and Science: Some Lessons from Solomon Asch' by Paul Rozin:

Evaluate the original study's findings. In which condition are the findings valid? In which condition are the findings not valid? Explain why.

* Briefly describe the two studies and their relation to the selected study and social psychology.

* Describe how the follow-up or related studies diminish or support the findings of the selected study.

* Discuss the effect of the various methodologies and instrumentation, across the three studies, in terms of future studies.

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Solution Preview

In this article three experiments were repeated by Solomon Asch with subjects (N=7) who are asked to participate in an experiment in which they compare the length of lines. Based on the experiment, six of the subjects have been coached beforehand to give wrong answers. The seventh individual has been informed that the study is an experiment in perception. The subjects are provided with two alternatives. They could act independently, go along with the majority (or repudiate the evidence). According to Asch, of the 123 individuals participating in the experiment, a considerable percentage yield to the majority position (which was in error).

Briefly outline your ideas for research including: (1) the social psychology perspective(s) that the study you propose will employ, (2) the topic and focus of the study, (3) a brief description of the methodology you propose to use, and (4) a justification for why the other researcher should support your ideas.

Note: for this first bullet, I assume you are to choose a social psychology perspective utilized by Solomon Asch, which was the Social Cognitive Perspective. A methodology that you might want to employ is a conceptual framework such as that in the Grounded Theory approach. Grounded theory is opposite of scientific experiments (which Asch objected to); it is often used in qualitative studies, and is based on some existing theory for which you provide a model why something is in the world the way that it is; and explain some aspect of how that something works (e.g., in this case what contributes to discrimination). In other words, what is taking place with the phenomena that you want to understand? A researcher would want to support your data if the theory is well grounded, and supported by well-though out data and research. In other words, the theory is not just imposed on your study, but utilized to explain it.

Evaluate the original study's findings. In which condition are the findings valid? In which condition are the findings not valid? Explain why.

*Conditions under which the experiment was valid:

(a) Disturbances of the majority unanimous had an effect (i.e., when there was no majority)
(b) Under the pressure of a majority of three the subjects' errors jumped to 31.8% (As noted in those "not valid" one person did not have ...

Solution Summary

The Solution examines both Solomon Asch's original study as well as two articles that examine the study.

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