July 23, 2011
In the 1950′s a psychology professor, Solomon Asch, conducted a study too see if the power of Group Dynamics would affect the decision of an individual. In the Asch Paradigm, a group of people was told to identify which line was the longest, shortest or the same as a reference line. Before the participant could answer, he had to listen to the responses of 5 or 7 actors, and sometimes as many as 15 actors. The actors were told in advance whether to answer correctly or incorrectly to the questions. This was the independent variable or what Asch controlled. Some rounds or trials the answers from the actors were correct, but many times their responses were deliberately wrong answers. This was intentional, but the participant was completely unaware of the deception. Each participant had no way of knowing the outcome. Professor Asch wanted to see how the group of actors, or more specifically, how they answered the questions, would influence the behavior of the participants. Asch thought that most of the participants would not give an incorrect answer to something so obviously wrong just because the actors did. However, the results would prove Asch wrong.
The dependent variable was seen in whether the participants conformed to what the actors said. Results proved that the majority of participants conformed on 37% of the so-called trials. About 25%, or roughly one-fourth of participants, did not conform on any trial. Three-fourths, or 75% of participants, conformed at least once. Five percent of participants conformed every time. Of the participants who did not conform and gave the correct answer, many showed extreme discomfort. Variations of the basic paradigm tested how many cohorts were necessary to induce conformity, examining the influence of just one cohort and as many as fifteen. Results indicated that even if one actor voices a different opinion, participants are much more likely to resist the...
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