“Conformity Experiment”

Have you ever thought about standing the wrong way in the elevator, or laughing at a funeral; probably not, right? We’ll have you ever thought about why you don’t do those things? In sociology we talk about how we conform based on others around us; this means we are going to stand the way others stand in a particular setting, and have the same emotion as others have in a particular setting. Solomon Asch did many studies on people’s tendency to conform when they are in a large group and he found that even when the individual knows the group is wrong they still conform to the group’s behaviors.

Solomon Asch’s study had actors and one participant in the room. There was a line drawn and they were given card with three choices; one of the choices was matching line to the one that was drawn and two of them were clearly not. The actors were instructed to to always give that same answer; however in some trials that answer was to be correct and in some of them incorrect. It was then record if the one participant in the rooms how was not an actor followed the group even when they were wrong or if they said the obvious right answer. The null hypothesis in this study suggested that participants would not conform to the group, but the alternative suggest that they would conform to the group. At thee end of the study it turn out the overwhelming participants would conform to the group even though they were wrong. So Asch had to reject the null hypothesis.
This study seems to be one that was done well and it is likely that Asch’s findings are accurate, but I had to wonder if anything else could have lead to these results. First, I thought what about reverse causation; is it possible that conformity caused the group instead of the group causing conformity. This did not make sense however being as though the groups were all ready set and did not change based on participants responses. The second thing is chance, but there have been a number of studies to follow this one that have the same findings; this means that there are multiple lines of evidence, suggesting that it is not do to chance. Lastly, is a possibly third confounding variable but this is not likely because of thee control put in place. By this I mean the fact that the actors sometimes said the right answer suggest that the change in the answer caused the change in thee behavior. I will say however that this aspect of the study could have been done differently. Perhaps, they all should have written down their answer and turned in their answer and then they should have responded allowed. This way we might be able to see a change in people’s responses. This study is convincing, but there is always room for improvement and skepticism when it come to science.

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2 thoughts on ““Conformity Experiment”

  1. Jeffrey Sherman

    Conformity has always struck me as a dangerous trait humans exhibit, especially with atrocities including the Holocaust and other pointless genocides part of our history. After researching conformity in further detail, SimplyPsycology defines conformity in multiple aspects, mainly separated by the reasons for conforming. Some change their behavior to impress a group, others legitimately accept others opinions cause it aligns with their values. Overall, it’s always important to think for yourself and establish your own opinions.

  2. Sean Patrick Hickey

    This reminds me of an experiment done in the 60’s or 70’s I believe where the scientist would sit in the room with the participant and he would instruct him to shock the person in the next room if they answered a question wrong, and the shocks would get progressively worse for each wrong question. Obviously no one was getting actually shocked but the participant thought he was shocking people. The point was to see how much people would obey an authority figure. I believe some of the people obeyed so much that they shocked the person all the way to death, or so they thought. This is just another example of how much of an effect others can have on us.

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