A Critique on the Study Social Support and Conformity The Effect of Differentiation from the Group and Order of Responding

This paper is going to summarize, critique, and analyze the psychological study made by Vernon Allen and John Levine, entitled Social Support and Conformity The Effect of Differentiation from the Group and Order of Responding. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the research design used by the researchers, and propose additional changes that can be made to the research.

1. A Summary of the Study
A psychological research has three main types natural observation studies, correlational studies, and experimental studies. The study Social Support and Conformity is an experimental study, which aims to experiment two relevant variables explaining the social support phenomenon (Allen and Levine vii).  These variables include the partners response position and the interaction between S and the partner on conformity reduction (Allan and Levine 2). The study hypothesized that the social support in position one and S partner interaction will produce the greatest reductions in conformity (Allen and Levine 2). The dependent variable in this study was conformity, wherein the independent variables included partners response position and interaction between S and the partner (Allen and Levine 2, 3). The actual study used an analysis of variance design. The between Ss factors included the Condition (Unanimous, Social Support 1, Social Support 4), Contact (Contact, no Contact, and Sex (Male, Female) while the within Ss group included the type of item (Visual, Information and Opinion). The experimental groups included 276 undergraduate students from the University of Wisconsin however, only 255 students data where included due to experimental deception (Allen and Levine 3). Contact groups served as experimental groups, while no contact groups served as control groups (Allen and Levine, 4). The study found out that the supporter answered lower when the partner was in position 1, as compared to supporter having partners at position 4. In addition, those who interacted with the confederate had less conformity to the confederate which has no contact, even though there was higher conformity in contact as compared to no contact (Allen and Levine 7). However, it was also noted that there was statistically insignificant results regarding the first variable, and there was an evident inverse relationship regarding the second variable (Allen and Levine 7).

2. A Critique of the Study
I think that there are factors which were supposed to be included in the study, but where nevertheless excluded, such as being able to withhold information so as not to be able to have experimental deception. Take note that experimental deception took place in the study. In addition, I also think that the confederate variables has some flaw, for the researchers cannot ensure that the contact groups did not actually have any contact with each other, given that they may have some sort of communication prior to the conduction of the experiment.

3. Redesigning the Experiment
When I am going to redesign the experiment, I think that I will first ensure that the confederates who posed as another S, and who would constitute the no contact group, must not come from the sample, (that is the undergraduate students of Wisconsin University), but from other places that would ensure that the experimental group do not really have contact with the control group whatsoever. This redesigning, I think, will also be effective so as to avoid experimental deception. Remember that conformity is actually the one discus in this study therefore, it is essential for the researchers for the confederate not to have any communication with the S and the E. In this case, given that the confederates actually came from the same sample of the group, then, researchers cannot truly ensure that the confederates have done their part in ensuring that no communication was dealt. In addition, I think that making the experimental groups having to answer three different categories (perceptual, information and opinion items). I think that for the nature of the research, it is hard to judge as to whether the results may have come from conformity, given that opinion questions is also asked. I personally believe that sources of opinion may come from different beliefs or political orientations, and may have not necessarily come from conformity.

Therefore, I would in fact opt not to let them answer opinion categorizations, but only with information and perception items. This is more crucial I think that perception and information, as opposed to opinion, can in fact be influenced by conformity. I will still keep the hypothesis however stating that the social support in position one and S partner interaction will produce the greatest reductions in conformity (Allen and Levine 2). I think that this hypothesis is still valid, as long as variables are properly controlled, and that as long as the confederates are properly used. However, I will ensure that the confederate actually came from a different sample, and that they will be ensured not to communicate with the experimental group. In addition, I will also describe the experiment to the participants after the research has been conducted, and would ensure that they will not suffer any harm from this experiment. Of course, it is essential not to divulge the nature and objective of the study, which was conformity this would put the experiment into jeopardy. However, I still think that it is essential for the sample to know the true nature of the experiment after they have been able to finish the experiment, especially for ethical considerations. In this specific scenario, I actually think that there is no need for any pre script or visual materials, for the focus of this specific study includes the conformity according to social support positions and interaction with contact groups.


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