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AbstractAn under researched area of conformity and social influence is how it interferes with critical thinking. This study will investigate how critical thinking is interfered with by social influence in both Face to Face (FTF) and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) within an academic discussion group. A systematic review was conducted to identify any existing literature on social influence and critical thinking in a blended learning environment, the results of the review found no relevant literature. Using a critical thinking task with different written language conditions, two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of social influence on critical thinking and language on conformity. In study one participants were engaged in a critical thinking task in two consecutive discussion forums, either FTF-CMC or CMC-FTF, with a journal article that had been altered to be either formal or informal language. The results of this study found that there was no significant main effect between conditions but several significant interactions were found. Study two replicated study one, but with a slightly altered stimulus, to control for possible effects of obedience. The results of study two showed no significant main effects but significant interactions between conditions. The findings of the study show that the order of discussion forum can influence conforming behaviours and have an impact on critical thinking. The implications of the study are discussed.
CitationWard, N. (2016) 'Critical thinking: the impact of social influence'. MSc by research thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionSubmitted for the degree of MSc by Research to the Research Graduate School of the University of Bedfordshire.
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