In many of the experimental research in social psychology, experimenters’ confederates were inevitable for creating the experimental setting required for the research goals. For example, one of the well-known classical research in social psychology is the experiment on conformity under social pressure by Salomon Asch in 1950’s. He showed people would conform to the majority even though their judgment was obviously incorrect. Naïve participants in the Asch experiments answered incorrectly conforming to the wrong answers of the majority participants that were confederates in reality.
The Asch experiments have been replicated by many researchers in a variety of experimental contexts. However, because it would need a set of confederates who would act appropriately to give a social pressure to naïve participants, few experiments have been conducted to investigate the conformity behavior of children. It is simply because it was difficult to obtain good child confederate for the experiments.
Yes, we all know through our daily experiences that small children tend to conform to the others. However, it was the first study that demonstrated it experimentally in the Asch experimental setting. The same experimental procedure may apply to an experiment for investigating the conformity of even younger children. It is an interesting open question in human development when children learn to conform to their peers.
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