The Asch Conformity Experiment

Asch’ s experiments are some of the most classic experiments in Social Psychology field. They are laboratory experiments which were conducted in the ’50s. The goal of those experiments was to show that humans tend to conform with the social attitude. Even if a human does not agree with community, even if he/she has a different opinion, he/she will conform with others’ opinion and will in order to avoid receiving their disapproval/persecution. More specifically, Asch proved in his experiments that humans even if they know that they are right they will start having doubts about their opinion/capability/perception in order to come close to opinions of majority.

Aditionally, Asch proposed two methods to decrease social pressure, therefore to decrease the possibility of conformity with the social attitude. The first method was about the “ally” who is instead community’s opinion and agrees with “black sheep’s” alternative opinion. “Black sheep” automatically has positive emotions for “ally”even if they did not know each other some minutes ago. At the same time the sense of social pressure disappears and person has again the feeling that is free to think/speak/behave (if someone else acts in the same way  “black sheep” feels again that behaves normally). The other method of Asch has to do with the withrawal of conformity through the “secret” expression of individual’s personal opinion. In other words Asch proved that the person who is free to judge and express his/her opinion without receiving any critique from the rest people, he/she usually says that he/she really believes without fear and continuous tendency to conform.

Asch’s experiments matches with the big question: “We are what we are because of our choices or our influences?”. If Asch was here probably he would answer: “It depends to the circumstances that we are asked to answer or to decide about something”. Really, what do you believe?

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