Solomon Asch’s expirement

I’ve written and before about the subject of how some people can pass their ideas to us and although we will reject these ideas at first, at the end we ultimately 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 “experiment” (in the first video, is the one with the white shirt, while in the second is the one with the red shirt) and the others were 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 truth and sometimes not the truth. The “subject” wants to say what he sees and of course what is the correct answer, but finally he “succumbing” to the view/opinion of the many, so he says what the most people are saying too.

The conclusion of Solomon Asch was that while most people do not adhere to something wrong, however they accepting 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 the answers instead saying them aloud. Asch noted that the subject answered in all the tests correctly, concluding that when the others did not see what he is writes, there was less “pressure” in what he will answer.

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

Watch the following videos, how the common opinion affecting people’s decisions.


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