Textbook coverage of study increasingly biased

Posted on March 27, 2015

Asch’s studies is commonly known as a conformity experiment, however Asch’s studies arguably showed the power of one’s independence when faced with misguided majority. It has been found that most coverage of Asch’s work has grown increasingly biased and misleading.

The task given on Asch’s studies was to point out which of the three comparison lines matched a reference line of length on each trials. On most of the trials, the participants heard the other group members unanimously choosing the wrong line. Objective of the test was whether the participants would go along with the blatantly wrong consensus or stay true to their own judgements. The majority of the participants’ responses went against the erroneous majority (63.2% vs 36.8%).

However, in most of the popular introductory psychology textbooks reported that the proportion of the participants (75%) were influenced by the majority opinion at least once. The books did not mentioned that there were far larger proportion of the participants (95%) who did not conformed at least once.

The new contemporary textbooks coverage has showed an increasingly biased portrayal of the experiment. The mischaracterisation of Asch’s work as demonstrative of people’s readiness to conformed has not decrease, it has become more entrenched


Category(s):Other, Social Isolation

Source material from British Psychological Society


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