I found the results of Asch's conformity study to be very interesting, that many people (75%) would conform to what others in a group answered even if they thought of a different answer beforehand. This study exemplifies the idea that people in today's society are likely to conform, and agree with other members of the group.
This makes me think of all the group work that I have done so far this year at the U of M, including the personality vacation activity that we had in Discussion last week. When we were placed into our group based on personality, I was in the more introverted, conscientious. When we were planning our "vacation" and agreeing on things, I found that I didn't agree with some of the ideas for our vacation, such as the location, but decided to go along with what the group was saying. I talked to one of the other group members afterwards and we both had similar thoughts. I think that this shows how we were putting emphasis on being unanimous within the group, and I felt like I wasn't putting in much input because the rest of the group seemed to agree. I didn't get to experience the other groups on personality, but I would be interested to see how the other people contributed or possibly even disagreed with anybody's ideas for the vacation. From reading about groupthink and conformity, I think it would be interesting to see how our personalities affect conformity, based on a personality inventory.
I think that in today's society one of the associations that we have with obedience is the Military. We think of these soldiers as being incredibly obedient and being a collective unit, as shown by the picture below of the standing formation of the armed forces.
The military seems to connect the ideas of conformity and obedience very well. One of the examples in the book given, was the justification of the My Lai massacre, who stated that they were simply following orders in carrying through with a massacre of many people. The obedience of the soldiers was so strong, that they followed through with the orders without questioning them or considering any other options, viewing all the people that they killed under their orders as the same. This horrific tragedy serves as an excellent example of obedience, as well as conformity by all the soldiers doing it together without questioning the act, and makes me also consider what distinguishes obedient people versus non-obedient people. I think that it could be useful to look further into if people from the armed forces become more obedient once they join, and if people outside of the armed forces are just as obedient in considering school, work, etc. but in just a different way than in the military.