Jola Fallach
'The Asch Conformity', the series of experiments carried out in 1950s, was designed to study an individual's behaviour in a group. The group consisted of actors and a person that was not aware of having been the subject of the study. Showing everyone a picture with three numbered lines of different lengths, an animator asked to choose the longest line. The actors deliberately pointed out the incorrect line to see if an individual would indicate the correct line or the line chosen by the group. The experiment showed that most people usually reinforced the group's answer, proving that we are prone to follow the crowd.

This experiment reminds me of a situation at University a few years ago. During our introductory lecture, one of the professors conducted a few funny quizzes that included answering in the public by showing one of the three cards that differed in the colours and letters on them. We got those cards with our student pack. It was quite interesting to see that people who sat close to each other showed the same card as an answer; moreover, the students' hands with the incorrect answer tended to quickly vanish from the air and the professors' eyes.



I think that when I face a group of the other people that are at the same or higher level of education or status I tend to follow the crowd. I trust the group's wisdom, but also I do not like to stand out and to be the laughing stock of the others. Therefore, I find it easier to be wrong when the others are wrong too; showing the wrong answer against the group might be embarrassing to me. But I am not such a conformist always; in a situation when I am absolutely sure that my answer is correct I am able to risk my prestige. During the lecture mentioned above, I chose the different answer than my peers sitting nearby, and I was pleased to see that I was right. But I identified the wrong answer for the next question, and that was the end of my independence: if I had been wrong twice in a row and alone, it probably would have been too hard for my self-esteem. 
0 Responses

Post a Comment