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Social influences shape every persons practices judgments and beliefs Asch 306 In Opinions and Social Pressure Solomon Asch examines how individuals tend to conform to a group or majority He does this by explaining the results of his experiment that he devised to observe to what extent conformity occurs In her essay titled Group Minds Doris Lessing claims that as a society we have enough knowledge about conformity to do something about it yet we choose not to Although Doris Lessing and Solomon Asch both suggest that people desire independence yet yield to conformity Aschs experiment adds specificity to Lessings claims Lessing speaks generally about groups and the effect they have on conformity whereas Aschs experiment examines different types of group scenarios in order to better understand the human psyche the idea of social conformity is farther complicated by chosen and assigned groups Lessing and Asch recognize that most people succumb to external pressures to conform despite the claim that they are individuals Lessing claims that an individual in the Western world has the mindset of I am a citizen of a free society and that means I am an individual making individual choices Lessing 333 Lessing doesnt believe that is the case She believes that only a small percentage of people can ever truly call themselves solitary individuals rather the majority of people tend to associate themselves with various groups After viewing the results of his experiment Asch believes that individualism exists and that some people can rise above the pressures exerted on them When it comes to conformity Lessing thinks that we live our lives in groups and many of us cannot help but conform to group sentiments She claims that we possess the knowledge about ourselves to do something about this tendency towards conformity but we do nothing about it Through his experiments Asch discovered that conformity was indeed prevalent and that it has an immense effect on society He believes
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