According to Asch, attitudes, and opinions held by individuals are often constrained by various social forces. However, the magnitude of this constraint is still the major issue of concern that demands to be addressed (655). To begin with, the author notes that the reason why this phenomenon occurs has been hugely theorized by quite a several psychologists. Bernheim’s proposal is one of the outstanding examples that Asch uses to express his line of thought. In this proposal, the normal psychological process usually exists and can transcend to an extreme level known as hypnosis. From this level, it can transform to yet another category that Bernheim refers to as ‘suggestibility’. Even though this proposal was tested by other professional psychologists, Asch observes that he is not comfortable with the outcomes that are obtained in a very easy manner. This explains why Asch devised his experiment (Asch 656).
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Asch makes use of college students as his sample population to experiment. The learners are requested to undertake a visual evaluation of lines with various lengths. To integrate the ideology of social pressure, the number of individuals constituting each group is changed significantly. In addition, Asch uses a fixed parameter by requesting the learners to concur with a certain wrong response (657).
In his findings, the majority response was accepted by most of the college students even if the answer was not correct. On the other hand, about 25 percent of the students who took part in the survey were not swayed by the feedback of the majority. The author quantified his outcomes by demonstrating his genius nature. He did not use generalization to depict the strengths and weaknesses of his hypothetical experiment.
Both scientific research and psychology have been employed by Asch to offer experiment results that he purports to be fair and balanced (657). The author also uses myriads of evidence to back up his findings.
Asch employs a covert style to develop the link between conformity and low self-esteem that often exists among individuals in society. This is just one of the ways through which he backs his experimental research. Self-esteem and conformity may be closely associated depending on the personality of an individual. In most cases, it is quite easy to conform to the will of the majority. Asch expounds that being part of the majority is more appealing and comfortable compared to be a lone ranger (658). For individuals who are independent in their judgments, they seem to take care of their emotional needs and not that of the group. They are capable of expressing themselves independently because they appreciate and understand their unique needs.
Individuals who did not conform to the group decision may have been influenced by quite a several factors. For instance, the extent to which the group was wrong could affect their level of conformity to the direction taken by the same group. Secondly, the error margin of the feedback given by the group would easily determine the level of resistance of the 25 percent of group members who gave independent answers. Nonetheless, Asch maintains that the ability to question every aspect of events surrounding an individual’s life is largely determined by intrinsic personal traits (659). Hence, the role played by the internal environment should not be ignored at all when assessing the link between conformity and low self-esteem.
Asch, Solomon. “Opinions and Social Pressure.” Scientific American 193.5 (1955): 655-659. Print.
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