No need to fake it: reproduction of the Asch experiment without confederates

Int J Psychol. 2010 Oct 1;45(5):390-7. doi: 10.1080/00207591003774485.


In the present experiment, we replicated Asch's seminal study on social conformity without using confederates. We adapted a presentation trick in order to present two different stimuli secretly to groups of participants to create minorities and majorities without utilizing confederates. One hundred and four Japanese undergraduates (40 men and 64 women) carried out Asch-equivalent tasks in same-sex groups of four. In each group, we adapted the fMORI Technique to present the tasks such that one person (minority participant) observed different stimuli than the other three people (majority participants). The same nine stimulus sets that Asch had used were carefully reproduced as PowerPoint slides and projected onto a half-transparent screen. As for the critical tasks, the top part of the standard lines appeared in either green or magenta so that two groups of participants would see them differently when they wore two types of polarizing sunglasses that filtered either green or magenta to make the lines appear longer or shorter. A post-experimental questionnaire confirmed that no participant among either the minority or majority viewers noticed the presentation trick. The results showed that, in line with Asch's basic findings, the minority women participants conformed to the majority. However, our study produced two different results: While minority women conformed, minority men did not. Contrary to Asch's findings, the frequency of conformity of minority participants was almost the same regardless of whether the majority answered unanimously or not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Psychology, Experimental*
  • Size Perception
  • Social Conformity*
  • Social Identification