Variables affecting conformity: Asch’s research


You may see different conformity rates (number of trials where participants conformed with the majority out of the total number of trials observed – usually given as a percentage) reported in different textbooks, this is often because they are referring to different studies. Initially, Asch trialled his conformity paradigm using 50 participants (1951), he then published a longer paper in 1956 with 123 participants.

Jamboard for Asch’s study including “It’s Asch o’clock!”, there is an answer sheet below with some ideas about how to play the game.

Conformity 4

Handout on Asch (1951) with gaps: asch study in detail AQA


The presence of a dissenter in the group caused conformity to drop from 37% to 5% if the dissenter gave the correct answer and 9% is they gave an alternative wrong answer. Copy and paste the stickies to show the confederates’ answers in the baseline and dissenter conditions. The show the most commonly occurring (modal) answer given by the real participant in each condition (the man in the white T-shirt, second from the right).

Group size

Click on the image to enter the jamboard

Effect if Group Size – What was the conformity rate with one, two and three confederates? Check the lucky dip box to see if you were right! 😀

Task difficulty

Click on the image to enter the jamboard

Circle the trials in one colour for more difficult (e.g. red) and another colour for easier (e.g. green)? What is the relationship between task trickiness and conformity? What type of influence is this – normative or informational?

Take it further

If you fancy a challenge, take a look at the original 1956 paper here. See if you can find two open and two closed questions asked in the post-study interviews. Its important to recognise that Asch collected a lot of qualitative data from the open questions as well as the quantitative data.