When it comes to Pepsi and Coke many people have a preference and most will be able to acknowledge the distinct taste difference. In this taste test however I decided to not simply test whether or not a person could distinguish one cola brand from the other, but instead see if people with a preference could still distinguish a difference even if everyone around them was giving a different answer. I decided to test false consensus along with self-efficacy, self-concept, self-serving bias, hindsight-bias, and attributions.
I chose six participants to help me with this study. Three were labeled confederates and did exactly what I told them to do. The other three each had different roles. One was a Pepsi drinker, one a Coke drinker and the last person did not have a preference nor did they drink pop on a regular basis. The first participant, who was a Pepsi drinker came into my experiment under the assumption that the experiment was simply a taste test in which I had gathered four people to taste one type of cola and say whether it was Coke or Pepsi.
The confederates all knew it was Coke but I had already told them to say it was Pepsi. Before the tasting all the “participants” discussed whether or not they thought they could distinguish the difference. The Pepsi drinker seemed to be hesitant saying “well I don’t know for sure if I can tell the difference, maybe if I take a drink from each kind. ” He even joked said “I definitely could tell the difference if I mixed it with rum. ” The others varied, some saying they only drink Coke therefore they would definitely be able to label the cola.
Then one by one, they took a drink and even though all three participants before him agreed the cola they were drinking was Pepsi, he said “no boys this is Coke. ” I then asked him if he was sure, even though everyone else agreed it was Pepsi. He then started to second-guess himself saying, “well I’m pretty sure, I mean I always drink Pepsi and this really tastes like Coke”. After a few seconds, we all told him he was correct and then he figured “he knew it all along”. The second participant said that he had a preference to Coke, however didn’t know if he could tell the difference.
The same experiment was set up this time using Pepsi, with the confederates all agreeing it was Coke. This was rather funny to watch. The participant took a drink than looked rather confused at the others who drank before him. He then took another sip and asked, “ you guys all think this is Coke? ” He thought to himself for a minute and when I asked him what he thought he said, “well I thought at first that it was Pepsi, actually I was pretty much positive but they all think its Coke so I took another drink and I was wrong, it is Coke right? Wrong. He did not seemed surprised when we told him he was right the first time, he seemed more or less frustrated with himself. Our third participant was neutral. She said she was someone who never drank pop and knew she couldn’t tell the difference if you asked her. She was very correct. We filled the cups with Pepsi and the confederates all said it was Coke. She simply shook her head and said, “I have no idea. I guess its Coke? ” When we told her it was Pepsi she simply stated, “I told you I don’t drink pop! ” False Consensus
In each case, the three confederates created a false consensus in which they made the participant question their answer. For example in the second case, the participant clearly stated, “well I thought at first that it was Pepsi, actually I was pretty much positive but they all think its Coke so I took another drink and I was wrong, it is Coke right? ” This displays that he conformed to the consensus even though he was right in the first place. The power of a group overwhelmed him and he did not want to present himself unfavorably which ties into the self-serving bias.
Self-Serving Bias A self-serving bias displays someone favorably therefore, in case of failure all of the participants said at some point that they might not be able to tell the difference. This way they if they got it wrong, they did not present themselves as someone who thinks they are always right. Self-concept Self-concept was used in this study when I asked potential participants if they were Coke or Pepsi drinkers. Since self-concept is a persons answer to the question who am I?
When a person says, “I am a Coke drinker or I am not a pop drinker” they are displaying part of their self-concept. Hindsight Bias The hindsight bias was seen in almost all cases once each participant was debriefed on the situation. Especially seen in the second participant who after conforming to the confederates wrong answer, when he said “he knew it all along” he really did know it all along. In another way we can see the hindsight bias in the third participant who didn’t believe she could tell either way. After she was wrong she said, “well I told you I wouldn’t get it right. Attributions If in the situation of the third participant, she had correctly guessed the cola, I feel that instead of her hindsight bias comment she may have ‘Attributed’ her success to either the others around her (situational attribution). In the case of the second participant he attributed his wrong answer on the pressures to conform. While the first participant attributed his correct answer to his great ability to distinguish the difference between Pepsi and Coke, or in other words used “self-efficacy” Self-efficacy
Since self-efficacy is when someone sees them self as competent, when the first participant was correct he displayed a strong sense of self-efficacy. He believed his correct answer was, again, due to his ability to distinguish the difference, while the others around him seemed incompetent. I was extremely satisfied with the results of my study, however I think if I was to recreate it I may have used more confederates to create a stronger sense of a consensus. It was extremely easy to match the social behaviors displayed by each participant to those that we have studied in class.
The most intriguing part of the experiment to me was to see the second participant fall for the false consensus even after he believed he was right the first time. It was interesting to see this concept at work. He stepped back, not wanting to be the only one wrong and conformed to be like everyone else. He was almost scared to take a risk and instead tried to convince himself that everyone should think the same way in this situation. By observing each participant I feel I have gained a better knowledge of these concepts and am able to match them to social behaviors displayed in everyday situations.