How People Were Influenced By Their Perception And Judgement Of The Autokinetic Effect

1387 Words Nov 9th, 2015 6 Pages
Numerous classic psychological studies and historical evidence show that identification with a particular group can lead to dreadful outcomes. From the 1950s, a consensus was widely spread among psychologists that tyranny triumphs because ordinary people carelessly follow orders and mindlessly conform to the powerful ones. A series of classic field experiments in social psychology seemed to confirm the idea of the banality of evil – a phase, which refers to the observation that people who commit evil acts appear to be unremarkable and indistinguishable from other members of society (Arendt, 1963).

Sherif (1936) conducted a study on conformity. This experiment tested how people were influenced by others in their perception and judgement of the autokinetic effect. Sherif concluded that people when judging an ambiguous stimulus will rely upon others to resolve uncertainty – shared norms were created. Participants tend to compromise and change their opinion to resemble others in the group. Similarly, Asch (1951) carried out an experiment with not ambiguous stimulus – with an apparent, correct answer to a line judgement task. However, this experiment reached the same conclusions – even though, the answer was obviously wrong, participants were influenced by other group members and tend to conform to a majority. 76.4% of naïve participants gave a wrong answer in at least one of the 12 trials. Asch (1951) concluded that people tend to conform because of the normative influence -…
Open Document