Musafer Sherif’s Conformity Research: Informational Influence
Subjects in a darkened room were asked to look at a point of light projected on a black wall. Although the point of light was stationary, observed believed the light began to move (the autokinetic effect).When individuals discussed their estimate of the movement of light with each other, they converged on a common standard or norm. Although the data indicate that influence was present, subjects denied that they were influenced by others. The more uncertain subjects were about reality, the more they were influenced by others, especially confident others. Norms, once established by the group, were used by participants even when they were alone.