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The Asch Conformity Experiment: How Social Pressure Influences A Person´S Life

1107 words - 5 pages

Due to the nature of our own biology we are social animals who continuously desire companionship, seek approval from others, and aspire to fit in. However this conformity prohibits individuals from expressing their true thoughts and instead actively engages them into peer pressured situations, subconsciously following social norms. Hence, the individual succumbs to groupthink. Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and are aware they must make a quality decision under considerable pressure. It is a process of rationalization that sets in when group members start thinking alike (Sims & Sauser, 2013). Eight symptoms of groupthink exist – illusion of invulnerability (group thinks ...view middle of the document...

With these recommendations added he is lessening the room for error.
Andrew Schwarz and Colleen Schwarz conducted a study to determine if a group’s attributes have any influence on the group’s use of group decision support systems (GDSS). The GDSS is an interactive computer-based system that combines computer, communication and decision technologies to support problem formulation and solution in group meetings and is used to improve group processes by “removing common communication barriers, providing techniques for structuring decision analysis, and systematically directing the pattern, timing, or content of discussion” (Schwarz et al., 2007). They argue that group cohesion impacts the outcomes of GDSS which are satisfaction with both the process and the outcome, effectiveness (quality of decisions made through GDSS), and efficiency (time of completion) and have even found that prior work revealed that there is a relationship between group cohesion and the decision quality and satisfaction. After studying 16 small groups for seven weeks on various group projects they found that group cohesion significantly predicted enjoyment and effectiveness but did not drive the group to be more efficient. Individuals who perceived their groups to be cohesive had a higher confidence in the decision. Though this study proved that the best outcome was not achieved, it does not provide insight to how their individual personalities were considered, nor does it mention anything about the participants’ cultures.
The Asch Conformity Experiment (1951) is an early example of how social pressure influences a person to conform. Solomon Asch had students complete a judgment task where they would have to determine which line of varying lengths (A, B, or C) was most like the target line and say their answer out loud. One at a time students would enter a room, thinking seven other participants had arrived there before him. However these seven students were confederates who already decided what line they were going to choose prior to completing the task, whether it was right or wrong. The actual participant would announce their selection last after hearing everyone else’s choices before him. With the answer always being obvious Asch found nearly one third of the 50 participants conformed to the majority view. When the participants were interviewed most of them stated they...

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