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Solomon Aschs article Opinions and Social Pressure says that social influences shape every persons practice judgments and beliefs Asch asks how and to what extent do social forces constrain peoples opinions and attitudes How do people respond to group pressure Which aspect of the influence of a majority is more important-the size of the majority or its unanimity Studies were conducted to answer these questions and most studies results were similar Many subjects confronted with opinions contrary to their own shifted their judgments in the direction of the views of the majorities or experts Asch described an experiment on the effects of group pressure One hundred twenty three subjects from three universities were tested to find out who would act independently repudiating the majority and who would go along with the majority repudiating the evidence of sense Of the 123 subjects 368 percent accepted the misleading majoritys wrong judgments One quarter of the subjects were completely independent and never agreed with erroneous judgments of the majority And some individuals went with the majority nearly all of the time To answer the question of whether the size of the majority or its unanimity influences judgment of individuals Asch referenced an experiment of a subject confronted with only a single individual contradiction The outcome was that the subject swayed little in his decision to answer questions correctly When the opposition increased to two the subject accepted wrong answers 136 percent of the time It was found that further increases in the size of the majority apparently did not increase the weight of the pressure substantially The size of opposition is important up to a point According to Asch tendency to conformity in our society is so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black and it should be a matter of concern
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