# "I'm sure that line 1 is the right answer, but everyone else is saying it's line 3... I'll go with 3"

Why are people so likely to conform? What are social influences on conformity? Solomon Asch conducted one of the more well known studies of conformity in the 1950's. This was a "study of perceptual judgements" where participants were asked to compare a standard line with 3 other lines. The fifth person in order was always the one being tested, all the others in the room were in on the gig. Early on in the study, the confederates in on the study would give the right answer so that the participant being tested would feel comfortable and think that the study would be easy. However, the people in on the experiment started to purposely give the wrong answer. So, the person being tested had to decide what to do. Would they say what they knew was right? Or would they conform? Solomon Asch and other researchers studied the social influences on conformity and came to the conclusion that conformity was influenced by a few different factors. One of these is called "Unanimity". The influence of unanimity is defined that "if all confederates (people in on the study) give the wrong answer, the participant is more likely to conform. Nevertheless, if one confederate gave the correct response, the level of conformity plummeted by three-fourths." So the likeliness that someone would conform can be very much dependent on how many people give what answers. The size also plays a factor somewhat. People are more likely to conform if there are more people giving the same answer. However, this only goes up to about 5-6 people giving the same answer. After hitting 5-6 people and going up there's enough that people will conform. Then, there is also "Difference in the wrong answer" which is "knowing that someone else differs from the majority makes the participant less likely to conform." This seems to correlate with Unanimity that if even one person gives the correct answer, conformity severely drops.
I see conformity happening all the time in classes. People will raise their hands because the rest of the class already has. Even thought the individual may not agree with what they are raising there hand for, they still will. This is such a sad thing to see because it takes away from individuality. There is such great worth, creativity, talent, uniqueness, etc. in every person that I hate to see that be thrown away by people conforming.

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding
Chapter 13, Page 500-502, "Social Influence: Conformity and Obedience"

The study you cited really speaks volumes to what I've seen in class and have personally experienced. When the class is asked a question, I don't know how many times I've waited until someone says something that seems to follow my logic before I speak up; the thought that I may be wrong or may appear foolish in front of my peers is a very intimidating thought. And there have been multitudes of times where a professor will ask if there are any questions after a very confusing section of the lecture, but no one will raise their hand. But it's the fear of looking foolish that makes people very reluctant to expose themselves.
And the line study really makes me wonder if I would succumb to conformity or if I could manage to stand next to my beliefs. I don't have much confidence about the situation to be honest.

I really liked this study as well. I knew that it was very common for people to conform, but I didn't realize to what extent. I'm sure there are many reasons for this. One of the main reasons is probably that people like to belong and be accepted, and they have learned that those who are different are often excluded from the groups. I agree that this is sad because I think everyone has something unique to offer.

This study is probably the most applicable study I have ever seen. Like the comment above I had no idea that people find it that important to fit into the group. Conformity is something you see just about everywhere and if I were in that study I admit I would probably give the wrong answers to avoid drawing attention to myself. I have noticed that conformity is really apparent in larger lectures which to me is no surprise. Often when a question is asked by the professor, it takes a really long time for someone to speak up. It's too bad that a lot of people (including me) prefer to not say anything because I'm sure many of the shy kids have a lot of interesting things to say.

I definitely agree with this blog post. I have noticed conformity, similar to that of the Asch study, throughout high school and even into college. Even I have taken part in conforming to the thoughts of others. In class, everyone always looks to what the smartest kids answers and then goes a long with what they say. In my biology class, we have clicker questions and itâ€™s easy to see all the wandering eyes trying to figure out the right answer. The conformity can be seen in the results if a wrong answer is in high prevalence. We need to learn to trust our own instincts more and avoid looking to others for answers.

I agree that conformity is still in existence. I find myself in similar situations like the the people in the study a couple of times. It is amazing what people will do to make themselves feel more comfortable with others. I don't think that conformity will ever go away because conformity is sort of like an instinct in a way, like a feeling of wanting to belong.

I thought the study was interesting also. I wouldn't think conformity would be so high, but it is. I, too, see conformity in classes and elsewhere all the time. The pressure to conform can be immense at times. It seems like people feel like if they go against everyone else they might died or something. I wonder if conformity is different in different cultures or with people at different ages?

I think the act of conformity is such a powerful influence on people and has a real tendency of putting people in situations that they might rather not be in. There are countless examples of peer pressure that people encounter every day, all of which, are forms of conformity and test our morals. In addition, it can also be used as a useful tool in certain circumstances.

It is crazy how much a factor conformity has on people's decisions. It is easy to think that in that situation you would not conform, but in reality you most likely would. I have found myself conforming to silly things all the time simply because I do not want to stand out and it is just not worth it in my mind to go against the group. However, hopefully in dangerous situations people would be able to resist conforming and do what is right.

I found this experiment, and the corresponding videos shown in discussion interesting. It shows the power of numbers and the influence a group, as well as society, can have over one individual, even when the individual knows what they are doing is wrong or incorrect. My favorite part of the video in discussion was when one of the participants called himself a "nonconformist," yet he was one of the first people to conform to the group of cohorts.

I found this principle to be quite interesting as well. We often fall prey to it so many times in our daily lives without realizing it. I noticed myself "conforming" yesterday as I was playing cribbage with a friend. After I had just played a hand my friend asked me about a certain run. Although I knew exactly what it was, his uncertainty about it caused me to doubt about it. I don't know if this is a true example of conformity, but in any case, I think it relates to the principle. Great post!

It seems to me that we don't place enough weight in our free will and choices (though behaviorists would argue that neither exist). Most people, when placed in this study, would reason that there's no real harm in following the group to avoid embarrassment if they believe they are right inside. For them (and many of us) it's better to just keep quiet and keep our convictions to ourself. Maybe this is the result of conflict avoidance, something that I believe many of us are conditioned to participate in.

After learning about this study, I wonder what I would have done if I had been that participant. I don't know if I would conform, but I do know that I would become very frustrated after constantly giving an answer that was different than the rest of the group. I can imagine myself wondering if I had understood the directions correctly, or maybe I'd wonder if something was wrong with my eyes. I think it's very important for people to fit in in today's society, so I find the results of this study pretty reasonable.