Social Influence Assignment (Psychology) - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
To conform or to be independent?” and “how is a person shaped and molded by his or her social influences?” are just only some of the questions that the social psychologist Solomon Asch tried to answer in his experiment that highlighted the fragility of the person in a mass…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER92.6% of users find it useful
Social Influence Assignment (Psychology)
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Social Influence Assignment (Psychology)"

To conform or to be independent?” and “how is a person shaped and molded by his or her social influences?” are just only some of the questions that the social psychologist Solomon Asch tried to answer in his experiment that highlighted the fragility of the person in a mass society when he is confronted with the contrary opinion of a majority, and the tendency to conform even if this means to go against the persons basic perceptions (Asch, 1955).
His experiment was driven mainly by the idea that the conformity of a person depends on two variables and their respective relationship with the assumption of conforming to society: conformity is directly proportional to the number of confederates or accomplices in the group and it is directly proportional as well to the unanimity of the control group. In truth however Asch hypothesized that the majority would not conform to anything that was obviously wrong and held that “individuals are not as malleable or submissive as prevailing doctrines maintained” (Friend, 1990, p.31).
According to Blass (1998, p. 46), the original focus of Asch’s studies was to study conformity to behavior of greater consequence than judging lengths of line, yet this technique was employed nevertheless because of its correspondence as empirical and statistical data and the convenience in presenting its findings. Thus the experiment was conducted by seating participants, including confederates, in a room and they were asked a variety of questions on lines such as which line matches with another and other comparative questions depicted on a pair of cards. They were all asked to announce their answers out loud and the confederates always recited their answers before the participant who was being studied. At first, the confederates delivered accurate answers but they eventually opted to have wrong answers as per instruction. During the course of the experiment, the two variables as stated earlier, namely the number of confederates and the unanimity of the answers of the group, were gradually changed.
Keeping in mind the two choices of the studied participant which was to either act out of his or her own independence, that is to ignore the majority, or to conform, which is to ignore his own senses, the results were as follows: Of the 123 put to the test, in ordinary circumstances individuals matching the lines will make mistakes less than 1 per cent of the time, under group pressure, studied subjects swung to acceptance of the majoritys wrong judgments in 36.8 per cent of the selections (Asch, 1955). When a participant had only one individual who contradicted his answers, he was swayed little, when increased to two, they accepted the wrong answer 13.6 per cent of the time and when opposition was three, the participant’s errors jumped to 31.8 per cent, though further increase did not affect results anymore (Asch, 1955). Unanimity, on the other hand was changed by introducing a “truthful partner” or an extremist dissenter which produced a drop in error to only 9 per cent (Asch, 1955).
There is wisdom in seeing how choices of other people, though they do not directly affect others in any way, still have influence over other people but there are underlying assumptions that this experiment contributes to society: First, there is a threshold in the chances that a person may commit to the majority’s decision instead of his own judgment. Statistically, this is about a third which means that individual decisions are still consciously independent about two out of three instances. Second, and perhaps much more valuable, is in recognizing the collective effect that a small minority can have over one’s own choices.
In light of these findings, order in society has been reevaluated using the very same principle of conformity. Stanley Milgram, highly influenced by Asch, has developed the idea of conformity further by producing a similar experiment where the procedure is devised for studying obedience (Milgram, 1963). As Tarnow (1996, p.1) would put it, conformity experiments will provide a “new rationalization for the phenomenon of splitting”, but again, all this depends on one’s own perception, experience and perhaps even culture. Finally as Asch (1956) himself would say, when consensus comes under the dominance of conformity, the social process is polluted and the individual at the same time surrenders the powers on which his functioning as a feeling and thinking being depends and thus, his education and values that guide his conduct become questionable. It is at this point that we can also whether these values that guide a person’s conduct is right or wrong, independent of other’s influences. But perhaps the more debatable question is ‘does our very concept of ethics change with society thus forcing it to conform?’
Blass, T. (1998). The Roots of Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiments and Their Relevance to the Holocaust [Abstract]. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen. p. 46
Friend, R., Rafferty, Y., Bramel, D. (1990). A Puzzling Misinterpretation of the Asch ‘Conformity’ Study. European Journal of Social Psychology. Vol 20, 29-44. p. 31
Tarnow, E. (1996). Like Water and Vapor-Conformity and Independence in the Large Group [Abstract]. Behavioral Science v41, 136-151. p.1
Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral Study of Obedience. J. Abnormal Soc. Psychol. 67:371-8. Yale University, New Haven, CT.
Asch, S. (1953). Opinions and Social Pressure. Retrieved from: Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Social Influence Assignment (Psychology) Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Social Influence Assignment (Psychology) Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words)
“Social Influence Assignment (Psychology) Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Social Influence Assignment (Psychology)

Social Psychology as Social Construction it. At the same time, such a combination of approaches can lead to the emergence of methodological, and even ideological, challenges as a union between dissimilar attitudes to the conduct of scientific investigations requires their re-evaluation and integration. Again, in the history of social psychology there were instances of such conflicts. On ground of this, let us discuss some of the main features of mainstream social psychology and criticism that it had to face during its development. In most general terms, social psychology deals with the study of the ways and degrees to which macro-social circumstances...
4 Pages(1000 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...1 Explain how variables such as social interactions, cognitive processes, environmental variables, cultural context, and biological factors shape what social psychology is all about and how it is practiced. Social psychology is the practice of studying how society behaves. The study of this behavior includes observing social interactions, cognitive processes, environmental variables, cultural contexts, and biological factors that shape societies. All of these factors affect social psychology. An example would be societal uses of birth control. Murchinson (2007:22-26) gives examples of infanticide,...
3 Pages(750 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...The first situation was written by a newlywed mother about her relationship with her husband, Simon, and her husband’s mother, Bernice ic Ann Landers). Being in a tough situation dealing with a mother-in-law has happened to many. Conflicts between the daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law vary as much as the conflicts in the marital relationship. This indicates that consensus is high. And this would probably mean that the object of conflict, which is the mother-in-law could probably be the root cause of the conflicts within the said situation. Conflicts between the advice-seeker, the daughter-in-law, and the mother-in-law were enumerated in the advice column. First, Bernice stood up in the wedding and announced to all... first situation was...
2 Pages(500 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...talked about my parents but could not do anything because I was too much involved. He took advantage and defeated me psychologically. After months, I found out that a person does not get respect from anybody if he does not respect himself. Counterfactual Thinking By definition, “counterfactuals are mental representations of alternatives to the past and produce consequences that are both beneficial and aversive to the individual” (Roese, 1997, p. 133). The three events I mentioned relate to upward counterfactual thinking. I could have said no to my friend who asked me for combined study and that would have led to my staying at home and studying properly for a high grade. Here, I am thinking about a better consequence...
2 Pages(500 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

... children feelings of inferiority, complex, self-rejection, and loss of self-esteem which consequently adversely affects their ability to learn and fully utilize their capabilities. References Levi, S and Killen M, (2010) Intergroup Attitudes and Relations in Childhood Through Adulthood,USA: Oxford University Press. Insights: Readings in Social Psychology, ed. Marianne Miserandino, comp.  W. Renee Walker for Thomas Edison State College (Boston: Pearson  Custom Publishing, 2003). ... Describe a time in your life when you witnessed or you were to an  unfair act of discrimination. What did Clarke and Clark conclude in their classic doll study about the effects of growing up under conditions of  prejudice?  As a black person born and raised in...
2 Pages(500 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...What does Robert J. Trotter mean when he concludes that being either optimistic or pessimistic can impact both your level of achievement and your health? What might you do differently after reading this article? Human lives, ever since we can remember have always been ambiguous and erratic. We have experienced happiness over the victory we were desperate to achieve, while we have also mourned in anguish for having lost something we cherished and called our own. Many of our emotional outbreaks occur as a result of the misfortunes that befall open us. Yet many of our reactions flow as a consequence of or mere expectations. Truly, what we think can build a great difference in what the reality is. This is exactly what Robert J... does Robert J....
3 Pages(750 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION Being an artist, book lover and a highly imaginative young man, I maintain great attraction in books, poetry, parapsychologyand paintings. I am fond of studying culture, civilization, history and religious beliefs of various communities and societies. Hence, almost all the things and articles related to the fine arts fascinate me to a great extent. At high school, I spent most of my time in school library amongst the books as well as at the school drawing section with brushes and pencils. I remained too much absorbed while studying the books and during painting the superb natural phenomenon that I absolutely forgot the social panorama around me. Consequently, I seldom participated in get together...
2 Pages(500 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...Social Psychology- Reflection Paper 2 I planned to break the social norm of wearing a dress. I wore a dress shirt with my boxer shorts. I went out into the street in the morning when almost twenty men and women stood at the bus stops, waiting for their buses, to head for offices. I stood there for around fifteen minutes, and observed people’s facial expressions and verbal comments. This paper tends to reflect on my affective responses before, during and after breaking the norm. First I express how I felt before doing the activity and what I expected. I was expecting that people would be surprised at my wearing that weird combination of a formal dress shirt with casual boxer shorts. I was expecting some very ridiculous remarks... about what...
2 Pages(500 words)Assignment


...Research Questions: - How and in what manner is the web-based social media technology used to support intimate relationships? - What role do the social media play in sustaining and maintaining long-distance relationships? - Are social networking aided tools such as ‘skyping’, or ‘video-chats’ effective in maintaining long-distance relationships? Theoretical framework: The Social Penetration Theory: Media Richness Theory Uses & Gratification Theory Key findings: The popular adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ holds true in case of social media communications. Studies have indicated that profile pictures used in social networking...
16 Pages(4000 words)Assignment

Social Psychology

...SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Social psychology is about realizing what is an human behavior in a social meaning. Human behavior therefore is influenced by other people and there are certain facrors that lead human to behave in a certain way. Social psychology aim is to do with the way certain feelings, beliefs and goals are buint and developed. It also figures out how such psychological factors influence the interactions of people with each other. The concepts of social pshychology were derermined by many scientists. Thus, Aristotle believed that people were...
1 Pages(250 words)Assignment
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Social Influence Assignment (Psychology) for FREE!

Contact Us