The Asch Experiment

As social beings we enjoy being part of groups .It gives us a sense of commitment and support that ultimately enables us to create strong emotional bonds with one another. It’s vital to our mental health to become part of a group; it has been proven that individuals who are marry are less likely of committing anomic suicide than those who aren’t , states Durkheim. Groups affect individual’s perceptions a great deal to the point that they might discard their own opinions. Would you go along with the crowds’ opinion or would you stick to your guns? Believe it or not most of us would conform to the majority’s opinion. This phenomenon is visible in our contemporary society. We are able to identify this ideology in groups such as, political groups, family, friends, and relationships and even fashion trends. The reasons why we conformed to our group’s opinions are to feel accepted and liked. Another reason is because we believe that they posses more intelligence than us. Also, it’s difficult to see something that no one else does. Opposing to the groups opinion can cause tension and isolation from other group members. Isolation can lead to anomic suicide due to the lack of social integration. The groups expressed opinions can pressure us into agreeing with them and consequently distorting our true perception. Ash’s experiment of perception is based a line test that is conducted on a group of individuals, but only one is the real subject and the rest are just actors. The subject was told that he was going to be participating in a visual perception test. Social psychologist Solomon Asch experiment studies the level to which pressure from other members of a group could influence one’s perceptions. Checkout the results of this remarkable experiment in the video below!


3 responses to “The Asch Experiment

  1. Hello, Lizeth. You must be in the social psychology class. Its interesting because this lecture was apart of our Monday class and I too found it in. Its funny how we can link Durkheim’s concepts into our every day lives. When I saw this demonstrated in the lecture I was able to immediately tie it to what I believe you meant egoism or egoistic suicide which deals with the lack of social integration. I enjoyed the participant’s facial expression when he knew the wright answer yet conformed to what the actors said. We can also tie this into the the Jonestown mass suicide. We tend to underestimate social influence yet it is deeply rooted in us. We feel uncertain and want to fit-in. We find ourselves in ambiguous situations where we don’t know what to do and follow others. Such as standing on the wrong line before deciding to ask someone. We conform publicly according to what we see others doing. This does have to do with social integration and social norms. The Asch line experiment is a pretty interesting video. I think we can all admit to following a crowd or doing what others do because we may think of them as being more knowledgeable than us.

  2. Hey Lizeth,
    I also really enjoyed how you incorporated a social psychology experiment into sociological theory. I think it’s funny how (whether people want to admit it or not) all members of society rely and compare themselves to one another. This idea can relate back to our status anxiety discussion a few weeks ago. We don’t want our neighbors to be better than us, BUT we want to be socially accepted by our neighbors and the community. It’s so contradictory, but I feel that it’s only getting worse as society becomes more and more driven by material commodities. The Ash experiment is a good representation of how individuals will conform with others even if they know they are right!! It’s almost like American’s cant accept and/or trust their own thoughts. These are very complex and dense topics, because I don’t really think there is a black and white way to understand or explain them. Lastly, understanding social rejection or isolation in terms of Durkheim and suicide, I immediately thought of school bullying. There have been so many instances of high school students committing suicide because they were bullied and rejected by their peers. I believe that this epidemic really emphasizes the interpersonal need for social acceptance by society.

  3. WOW!! Amazing, this is a clear example of how society works. I watched the video and for a second I was hopeful at the individual’s first response but as I continued watching i just laughed. The need to be “accepted” is so strong for most of us, that we conform and accept other people’s ideas and opinions and live our lives around theirs. We live our lives in fear of not being accepted and we learn this at a very early age. We see it in schools when kids dress and act a certain way to be “cool” and fit in. The most interesting fact is that we can not escape this, in order to survive in this globalized world we live in today, we must be connected and intergrated with society and this influences, inevitably, the way we “choose” to live our lives.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s