Two different views exist when it comes to the relationship between minorities and majorities:
(1) Researchers such as Asch and Festinger argue that majority influences the minorities thorugh conformity, to abandon their own opinions even if they are true.An example can be the Autokineticeffect study of Sherif.
(2) In contrast, Moscovici proposed that it is the minorities that influence the main population through consistency, investment, autonomy, and felxibility. (3)
Before beginning the analysis, several definitoins may be helpful; a minority group is the differentiation from the social majority ( those who hold the social power) determined on aspects such as ethnicity, ...view middle of the document...
The term conformity refers to the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms.(2)
The Power of the Majority:
To begin with Asch, he stated that if the object of judgement would be unambiguous the individuals in the study would remain uninfluenced by the group.
To test this statement,Asch ( 1951, 1952, 1956) conducted a series of experiments .In a visual judgement test which consisted of 18 trials, seven to nine participiants were seated around a table. Each one publicly called out which of the three lines was the same lenghts as the standard line. However, only one person was a true participant the remaining individuals were all confederates who gave mistaken answers on twelve trials, and on the other six trials they picked lines that were either too short or too long. Later in the control condition where participants privately answered without any group influence, less than 1% of the control participants answered false.
Results indicated that; 25% of the participants remained independent in their answers. 50% of the participants conformed to the majority on six or more trials. 5% of the participants showed conformity on all twelve trials. Resulting in an average of 33% conformity.
After the experiment, Asch asked the participants the reason they had conformed. All of the participants reported experiencig self-doubt as the reason of disagreement between the group and themselves, which resulted in fear of disapproval, anxiety, and self-consciounsness. Wheter the participants believed the group answers were correct or misbelieved in the answers, all of them agreed up on the answers of the majority in order not to stand out. Participants who stayed inidpendent through out the study reported confidence in the accuracy of their own judgements. This experiment shows that a reason why people conform is to avoid social disapproval and ridicule.
In 1951 Asch conducted another version of the same experiment. Including sixteen participants and one confederate who gave incorrect answers. Participants openly ridiculed the confederates wrong answers and laughed at him. Asch thought that if participants were not worried about social disapparoval or ridicule they eventually would give consistent answers. Thus, he conducted another version of the experiment. The results showed that when participants were giving privately written down answers conformity rate dropped about 12.5% In additon to Asch’s experiment, Deutsch and Gerard conducted an experiment in 1955. They proposed to completely eradicate pressure by using anonymous participants, private responds, and no surveillance of the group. One participant was confronted with three confederates in a face-to-face situation who unanimously made incorrect assumptions about focal trials such as in Asch’s experiment. In another condition, the participant was anonymous and responded privately without group pressure. The third condition consisted of participants responding face-to-face with a...