Free Will vs. Peer Pressure
“Opinions and Social Pressure” was a study by Solomon Asch which looked into the relationship between intellectual judgements and social pressure. How does our nonconformity within a group affect our judgements as individuals? Asch attempted to answer the question by conducting a series of experiments. In these experiments, the subject was placed in a group, the members of which were shown a linesegment, they were then asked to identify among three other linesegments one that has the same length as the previous. The answer was indisputably apparent to the naked eye, what was not apparent to the subject was that apart from himself, the rest of the group had previously been instructed by the conductor to give false answers, putting the subject on the spot of being a dissenter in an apparently straightforward question. Asch then concluded that dissenting from the majority did indeed affect the integrity of a person’s judgement. As an article, the content, organization and style of this publication all served very well to remind the audience of their vulnerability to alter their judgements according to public opinions without substantial reasons to do so, especially given the historical context. However, as a study, the process of deduction was not without problems. The content of “Opinions and Social Pressure” was effective in serving the purpose of reminding the audience of how our opinions can be influenced substantially by social pressures. During the 1950s, the hysteria of fear of communist influence infested the American society. This was known as the Red Scare. AntiSoviet and AntiCommunist propagandas were eminent in the everyday lives of the Americans. Asch remarked the relevance of the article as he claimed “this question is especially...
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