Sticking to Your Guns or Conforming to Social Pressure in a Study, “A Minority of One Against a Unanimous Majority” by Solomon E. Asch

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Conforming to Social Pressures
How do people conform to social pressures? Will they go along with other’s opinions, or will they stick to their guns and trust their own judgments? To determine the effect of socials pressure on decision making, an experiment was performed to test the hypothesis; If a person is presented with visual information in a group setting and asked questions about their perception of what they see, will they truthfully respond if others in the group unanimously choose the wrong answer? A study titled “A Minority of One Against a Unanimous Majority”, Solomon E. Asch designed an experiment to test the power of social forces to understand the extent of influence they have on psychological function. (Asch) The
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Data was collected for each of the experimental groups and showed that 37 or the 50 critical subjects “conformed themselves to the obviously erroneous answers given by the other group members at least once, and 14 of them conformed on more than 6 of the staged trials.” (Solomon Asch experiment (1958) A study of conformity) Looking further in to the data, it was determined that some of the critical subjects always yielded to the majority response and others never went with the majority, but most of the subjects “did not belong to either of these extremes (Asch).” The mode of the data showed that the majority of the subjects that decided to conform to the majority did so in the second trial, indicating that the stress of answering differently than the majority of the participants caused them to consistently adopt a course of action to avoid singling themselves out (Asch). Considering that some of the subjects did not conform until about midway through the experiment the results showed that most individuals show a high “internal consistency (Asch)”, that is, once the critical subject decided to conform to the majority, they stuck with that strategy for the rest of the experiment. In 1951 Asch conducted further trials where he changed the independent variables to try to figure out what factors most influence the dependent variable, conformity. He concluded that the factors increasing conformity were; the size of the group, the larger the test group, the more likely
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