Follow The Leader and Group Conformity

In 1951 Asch conducted his famous Conformity Experiments. These experiments showed how an individual would follow along with a group even if they know the others are wrong.

conformity

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He had six to eight people participate in his study with only one test subject. The rest of the participants were known as confederates and knew how the test worked. They were actors that gave a predetermined answer.

There were multiple simple visual questions that were asked. The answer to these questions were obvious to 98% of the test subjects. The participants all had to answer these questions in front of the rest of the group.

The test subject was either the last or second to last person to give their answer. The questions that were asked were cards with lines on them. The participants had to answer which line matched the first line.

The first two confederates gave the correct answer so that the test subject felt comfortable in the group. After that the rest of the confederates gave the same wrong answer. This was to see if the test subject would also give the wrong answer.

32% of test subjects conformed while 75% of them gave the wrong answer at least once during the trial. When asked why, the subjects said that they either wanted to fit in to the group and were afraid of ridicule or that they thought the group must be right.

This shows how much groups have an influence on us as individuals. They can make us go against our better judgement even if the group is wrong. Let me know in the comments if you have any other examples of group conformity.

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