The Risk of Non-Conformity (4 of 5) by Dave Gustavsen
This content is part of a series.The Risk of Non-Conformity (4 of 5)
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I graduated from college 22 years ago with a psychology degree. And I think I've forgotten most of what I learned about psychology. And probably that's okay I'm not sure how useful a lot of it was. But there are definitely some key things that I remember. Because there are some classic psychological experiments that give some very valuable insight into human nature. And let me tell you about two that have stuck with me.
The first one is called the ''Asch Experiment,'' done by a guy named Solomon Asch back in the 1950's. And the purpose of the study was to see how people are affected by peer pressure. So here's what they did: they put eight people around a table. But actually seven of them were in on the experiment. They were actors. So only one person was actually being studied.
And then the leader would ask each person to answer a question, one at a time. For example this is one of the test questions. On this card, which of the lines on the right is the same length as the line on the left? Very simple questions like that not complicated and they would go around the table and each student would answer.
And here's how they did it: for the first few questions, all of the insiders answered correctly, and of course the one guy answered correctly as well. But then after a few questions, the insiders started giving wrong answers. And they all agreed with each other on the wrong answer. And they wanted to see if that would influence the test subject to answer the same way just because of the influence of all these other people. Make sense?
So here's what they found: when the subject was surrounded by people giving the wrong answer, more than one-third of the time, the subject also gave the wrong answer. And over the course of the test, over 75% of the subjects gave at least one wrong answer, because of ...
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