When Penn State beats Ohio State a few weeks ago, everyone in state college was excited beyond belief. I was one of the student who was downtown in the aftermath. I saw the horse cops. However, the day after it turns out the students had done considerable damage to downtown State College. I began to wonder why do people riot anyway? Are people really that susceptible to conforming to the majority?
A study don’t by psychologist Solomon Asch sought out to test this. The study was to see just how often people will do something just because those around them are also doing it. The hypothesis was that, people will more likely conform to a wrong answer given by the whole, than choose what they believe is the right answer. The null hypothesis would be if people didn’t change their answer based on the the groups answer.
The study was arranged so that participants were placed in a room with other people. Only the other people were not participants, but pretending to be. The whole room was shown a picture of three lines, labeled a, b, and c. The researchers told the room to look at the lines and decide which one of the longest. The actors were instructed to pick the answer he was not correct. The goal was to see that if everyone around the participant chose wrong, would he do so himself. Asch found that 75% of people chose the groups answer instead of their own answer. The study also determined that the higher the number of actors there were, the more likely the participant would be swayed.
This experiment may give an explanation to why people do things ever if they know it is wrong. Like with state college for example. Everyone and their mother went down to beaver canyon after the game. Some people who may have not even wanted to go went, just because of the mass amount of people doing it.
Another experiment showed just how easy it is to mass hoards of large people. The study showed that in a group of 200 people, five percent of people were able to change their direction. People were told where to try and direct they crowd just be looking like they knew where they were going. 95% of people followed them blindly.
So the power of group mentality and conformity is very strong. Maybe in order to prevent the destruction in the future the students could have a place to go where they can celebrate that is legal.