Most individuals are aware of the physical pressure such as iron weights or a heavy backpack, but who is consciously aware of the finite pressure involved in our everyday social lives? One main form of social pressure is conformity, which is changing or manipulating your thoughts or actions in order to match others around you. Are you a rebel or a conformist? “Most consider themselves not to be considered terribly strange or frightening yet nonconformist enough to demonstrate that we are individuals and capable of independent thinking. However, what does scientific research have to say” (Hock, 1992)?
In Forty Studies that Changed Psychology, (Hock, 1992) Chapter 38, The Power of Conformity deals with Solomon Asch’s experiment conducted in the 1950’s. Although, conformity often involves general and vague concepts, such as agreeing with others attitudes, ethics, morals, and belief systems; Asch focused on a more obvious type of conformity. This type of conformity was called perceptual conformity which is the extent to which humans tend to conform to another’s perception of the world. Asch’s hypothesis stated, “Conformity should be able to manipulate a person’s behavior by applying group pressure to conform” (p. 296). To conduct this experiment seven people were chosen. Six of which were from the study, so they knew what was going on while one individual was chosen randomly. Their task was to determine if a line on one card matched with one of the three choices on a separate card. The first few times, research insiders gave the correct and obviously right answer. But, after a while, the
research insiders would give the wrong answer to see how often the one outsider would agree with the insiders. Each participant participated in the experimental situation several times. Approximately, 75% went along with the group’s incorrect consensus at least once. For all trials combined, participants agreed with the group...
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