Conformity Experiment

Do you think of yourself as a conformist or a non-conformist? If you are like most people, you probably believe that you are non-conformist enough to stand up to a group when you know you are right, but conformist enough to blend in with the rest of your peers.

I used to be a good kid in school. I think I still am.

I’d bother to wake up in the morning, and to head home straight after school. My parents brought me up well. (You may disagree, but I don’t care.) They may not have been the best educators, but at least they taught me the basic values and beliefs. To share, to care, to be on time. LOL.

In psychological terms, conformity refers to an individual’s tendency to follow the unspoken rules or behaviors of the social group to which he or she belongs.

But eventually, I don’t pay as much attention to punctuality as before. Why? Because everyone else started to be late. And no one really reprimanded them. Its almost like a loop hole in the education system. It is upsetting when people don’t bother about being on time. It can reflect so much about a person, and yet, many young adults like myself just don’t get it.

Researchers have long been interested in the degree to which people follow or rebel against social norms. During the 1950s, psychologist Solomon Asch conducted a series of experiments designed to demonstrate the powers of conformity in groups.

When I first read about the conformity experiment, I could relate to it pretty well. I’d expect myself to be able to stand on my own amongst the crowd, at the same time, I’m probably the type who’d just conform to the majority.

In Asch’s experiments, students were told that they were participating in a ‘vision test.’ Unbeknownst to the subject, the other participants in the experiment were all confederates, or assistants of the experimenter. At first, the confederates answered the questions correctly, but eventually began providing incorrect answers.

It explains quite a bit about the situation that we’re seeing in classes.

These results suggest that conformity can be influence both by a need to fit in and a belief that other people are smarter or better informed. Given the level of conformity seen in Asch’s experiments, conformity can be even stronger in real-life situations where stimuli are more ambiguous or more difficult to judge.

Conclusion? If you think you’re smart enough to stand for yourself in a group, don’t be late.


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