Saturday, August 15, 2009

Conform with Ash.

There is a sad, strong psychological tendency among Earth humans to conform with whatever group opinion might be expressed at the time, by their peers or by governing authorities. This tendency was measured quantitatively back in 1951 during a famous experiment by Solomon Asch. He placed a small group of individuals who did not know one another into a room, then asked them to say which of three black lines on a sheet of paper---A (short), B (medium) or C (long)---matched the length of another line held by an assistant nearby? All of the individuals except one had been instructed beforehand to give the same “wrong” answer. So the question became: what would the remaining individual do? Report truthfully what he or she could see plainly with his or her own eyes, or conform with group opinion?

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The result surprisingly was that 80% of the individuals tested would agree incorrectly with group opinion in at least one case. And one-third of those individuals would agree falsely with group opinion most of the time! When they were interviewed later, to ask why they had conformed so readily to a clearly false answer, most of the test subjects admitted that they did not really believe in their conforming opinions, but had simply gone along with the group: for fear of being ridiculed, or being thought peculiar (see or WATCH or WATCH).