Opinions and Social Pressure

Topics: Conformity, Asch conformity experiments, Sociology Pages: 3 (926 words) Published: May 19, 2013
Solomon E. Asch “Opinions and Social Pressure”
Salomon E. Asch in his essay “Opinions and Social Pressure” conducted an experiment to determine effects of group pressure towards an individual and concluded that there is a very strong tendency to conformity even when doing so conflicting with their own senses of morality. In the experiment a group of young students have to compare length of lines on two different sheets of paper. On one of them there is a sample single line and on the other one there are three lines only one of which is same size as the sample line from the first sheet. People taking part in this experiment are instructed to point at lines that are the same length. At first, during the experiment the group is unanimous in their answers and chooses the correct line, but later on the person that sits near to the end of the line in which people taking part in the experiment are sited, selects different answers then the rest of the group. As the experiment continues and the situation repeats, the isolated in selecting different than the majority answers person shows signs of feeling uncomfortable in position of dissenter. What he doesn’t know is that the rest of the group is instructed to give wrong answers while the experiment is conducted. The single individual is placed in the minority while actually giving the correct answers. Subjects of this experiment could act independently or they could go along with majority’s opinion. A prominent percentage yielded. Under the majority pressure people are more likely to accept the misleading information. There are extreme examples of totally independent individuals as well as people who totally agree with the majority almost most of the time and the tendency is highly consistent. After reconstructing the experiment the next question for the scientist to answer is which aspect of influence is more important, the size of majority or its unanimity. It turns out, that the majority size...
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