Peer pressure and genderFeatured science projectScience project video

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Complexity level:
5
Project cost ($):
10
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 day for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

None

Abstract

This science fair project was done to determine which gender is more affected by the influence of peer pressure. The experiment was done by posing some simple questions to participants in a group setting.

Hypothesis

Male participants are more affected by peer pressure than female participants.

Background

Peer Pressure

Peers are the persons we normally spend time with and we are able to identify with. Among young children and teenagers, they are usually friends of the same age, schoolmates or children who live in the same neighborhood. Peers among adults can be found among co-workers, church members, and members of certain societies and clubs, etc.
Peer pressure is the phenomenon where a person is persuaded directly or by implied means to comply and be in agreement with other individuals who belong to the same group. This phenomenon exists at all groups. It is often used, whether intentionally or otherwise, as a persuasive force to make a person adopt the same beliefs, goals and values in order to be part of the group and to be permitted to participate in their activities.

The effect of peer pressure on a person can be positive or negative. Sometimes, peer pressure can make a person do things against his or her beliefs. It can be used negatively, for example, to incite hatred, purchase unwanted things and develop bad habits like smoking and uncontrolled drinking. Peer pressure can also bring about positive effects, like in improving an individual’s academic results. This is if the individual associates with the right group of friends who, for example encourage each other in their studies.
 

Scientific Terms

Peer pressure

Materials

The materials required for this  science fair project:

-    25 male students age 15
-    25 female students age
-    A white board
-    A classroom
-    A black marker pen

Procedure

1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is the gender of the participant. The dependent variable is whether or not the participant succumbs to peer pressure. This is determined by asking them to answers questions to which the other participants have given a wrong answer. The constants (control variables) are the type of questions asked and the number of participants in the group.

2.    5 male and 5 female students  are selected as non-participants who will who will not be subjects of our experiment. These non-participants are instructed to intentionally provide the wrong answers and they are also required to first collude, to ensure that their answers are consistent with each others.

3.    The actual participants are not informed that these 10 individuals are non-participants.
4.    2 questions are written on the white board. In the 1st question will have 5 circles of different sizes drawn on the white board. Two of the circles are of the same size whereas the other 3 circles are of different sizes. In the 2nd question, 5 squares are drawn on the white board. 2 squares are of the same size and 3 squares are of different sizes.

5.    The 10 non-participants and 1 participant are brought into the classroom. They are asked one by one to identify the 2 circles of the same size. The 10 non-participants will intentionally provide similar wrong answers. The participants will be the last to be asked to give their answers.

6.    They are next asked to identify the 2 squares of the same size in the 2nd question. This time the actual participant will be required to answer first.

7.    Procedures 4 and 5 are repeated on the remaining 39 participants. The number of correct answers given by the male and female participants for both questions are totaled and the results recorded in the table below.
 

Observation

It is observed that compared to the female participants, the male participants were more affected by peer pressure to provide the wrong answers.
 

Gender Number of participants who answered correctly
  Question 1 (Peer pressure) Question 2 (No peer pressure)
Male 5 20
Female 9 20

Use the below graph to plot the results of above observation.
 

 Peer pressure science fair project

 

Conclusion

The hypothesis that male participants are more easily affected by peer pressure than the female participants, is correct.

Peer pressure affects the behavior and mindsets of both children and adults. , young children have a tendency to plead with their parents to buy toys for them which other children already have, so that they fit in with the rest of their playmates. Adults spend their saving on cars which they cannot afford in order to maintain their social status amongst peers. The degree of peer pressure faced by teenagers is nowadays more serious. Because of peer pressure, teenagers sometimes change the way they lookand dress, and pick up habits like smoking or join "gangs". Of all age groups, it is our youths who have a greater tendency to succumb to peer pressure and go against family and societal norms.
 

Also consider

Repeat the science fair project to compare the effects of peer pressure among different age groups.

Try to conduct a survey using questions on how some habits and behavior of the participants can be affected by peer persuasion.
 

References

Peer pressure - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_pressure

Peer pressure - http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/76/Peer-pressure.html

Peer pressure - http://www.americanexperiment.org/publications/1998/19980408kersten.php
 

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