Comparitive Critique of Doris Lessing's article "Group Minds" and Solomon Asch's experiment.
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Social influences shape every person's practices, judgments, and beliefs. (Asch 306) In "Opinions and Social Pressure", Solomon Asch examines how individuals tend to conform to a group or majority. He does this by explaining the results of his experiment that he devised to observe to what extent conformity occurs. In her essay titled "Group Minds", Doris Lessing claims that as a society we have enough knowledge about conformity to do something about it, yet we choose not to. Although Doris Lessing and Solomon Asch both suggest that people desire independence yet yield to conformity, Asch's experiment adds specificity to Lessing's claims. Lessing speaks generally about groups and the effect they have on conformity, whereas Asch's experiment…show more content… These two quotes by Lessing and Asch tie together to illustrate how powerful a group can be and how significantly a group can affect an individual's psyche. We give in to pressure from external forces such as authority or our peers. According to Lessing there is nothing wrong with belonging to a group, the problem arises when we do not comprehend the social principles that control groups and control us. It is apparent that groups are a significant part of our society. Does it matter how we came to be in a group? In Lessing's article, she appears to lump all groups together, whereas Asch conducts his experiments using different variables in order to study the effect of different group situations.
Lessing could have better addressed the different types of groups that exist instead of amalgamating them all together. She spoke generally of groups and pressures to conform instead of going more in depth. She says "The fact is that we all live our lives in groups---the family, work groups, social, religious, and political groups" (Lessing 333). She mentions specific groups such as family and political groups, but she could have added more specificity to the topics by examining each one and the effects they have the individual. Asch examines different group situations by setting up variations on his experiment. For example, he added a partner to the experiment that