Solomon Asch’s experiment

I wrote before how some people can pass their ideas to us and although we will reject these ideas at first, at the end we accept them under the social “pressure”. Here’s an experiment on how society can influence our choices and our opinions.

Solomon Asch, an American psychologist, pioneer in social psychology, made the following experiment (known as “Asch Paradigm”). He put in a room a few people, but only one of them was the subject (in the first video, is the one with the white shirt, while in the second video is the one with the red shirt) and everyone else was with the researcher’s team, so they were telling the numbers matching with the lines they seen in various cards.

In the experiment, these guys were saying sometimes the correct and sometimes the wrong answer. The subject wants to say what he sees and of course what is the correct answer, but finally he “forced” to say what the most people saying.

The conclusion of Solomon Asch was that while most people do not adhere to something wrong, they accepting however it as correct when surrounded by people who agree that it is right.

In a variation of the experiment, Asch asked from the subject to write their answers instead of saying them aloud. Asch noted that the subject answered in all the tests correctly, concluding that when the others did not see what he writes, there was less “pressure” in his answers.

This experiment of Asch, shows us that people denied their own eyes, when they are influenced by other people and they also fearing the social “exclusion” or rejection if they go “against” the others or do not do what everyone else does. This is called “regulatory compliance” (or normative social influence) and a big example is the smoking or the drug use, because it’s something our friends “do” and someone will be “uncool” if he do not do this too. And of course, it’s something you can see in many communities.

Watch in the following videos how our decisions can be affected by others.