Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Asch's Conformity Experiment

Hello All!

I have recently been reading about social influences, particularly about normative influence. I know there have been numerous occassions in the past where I have passively "gone along with the crowd" in order to gain acceptance, approval and to avoid friction and standing apart from a group (particularly in larger groups). In high school I learnt about one experiment conducted by Asch. We even reinacted the experiment to test the power of social influence. I have provided a very interesting video about this study (the line study). I think it is a really insightful study into how we can conform if the majority of people in a group hold certain opinions or beliefs. What does everyone think? Do you think you would conform in such a situation? Please feel free to add any comments.


3 comments:

Mrs. Freud said...

Hi Jess, I think this is an excellent experiment to do. I know we all say that we would stand up for real answer were we in that situation, but i truly believe that i would not go with the group if i truly believed the answer to be wrong... at least not in an experiment where one has to judge the length of a line... who knows whether we as independant confident individuals would conform whether the topic were something more controversial such as religion or politics.... i wonder?

graham said...

Hey Jess,

Definately interesting about the line experiment. I think context is very important in such an experiment. Personally, I think in such a situation with the line experiment, I would say what I think the right answer is despite what the crowd says. Yet in other circumstances I think I would go along with what the crowd was saying and doing so I wouldn't cause attention, and indeed I admit to doing so. And I agree with Clare in I think age is important. For example, when in high school and you see someone getting bullied, its a lot easier to stand back with the crowd instead of doing something about it. But I would like to believe that if such a thing happened at uni that I or someone would step in. I wonder if anyone has done the experiment across varying ages?

-*-WillingParticipant-*- said...

Hey social psychies,

What an interesting study. I thought the comment about the participants reasons for changing their answers was interesting. They saw themselves as right, but decided to say something different because of the context they were in. For me this highlights the levels of complexity in psychology. People operate on so many different stimuli changing and adapting their overt behavior as a result. On this point I think it would very interesting, as has been mentioned, to see about very young children or very old adults, or perhaps some one like the "genie" who hasn't had a lot of social interaction participate in the same experiment.

Influence is quite interesting there have been a couple of comments here:
Social Psychology Say
about the blue eyes brown eyes experiment. :)

cheers,
-*-WP-*-