The capacity of one individual to influence the decision making of others within the same group has been a major worldwide phenomenon especially among adolescents. However, in the 1950s a famous psychologist by the name Solomon Asch conducted a powerful experiment which was aimed at determining the extent to which pressure from a dominant member of a group affected the decisions made by other participants. This piece of writing is therefore an attempt to criticize Asch’s 1951 experiment on group conformity.
In order to fully understand the foundation of numerous criticisms on Asch’s experiment let us therefore begin by giving out an overview. Asch used a lab experiment to study male conformity, in this study fifty male students from a certain college in USA participated in a vision test. Using a line judgment, Asch put one true participant in a room together with about seven confederates, and each person in a room had to state which line among three lines (A,B, and C) was almost like a target line.
It was found that most of the real participants conformed to the view of the majority despite them giving wrong answers (BPS, 2006).
Having given out an overview of this study, let us now move a step further and look at its criticisms. To start with, according to BSP (2006) the study sample was too bias in the sense that all the participants in the experiment were male students who all belonged to the same age group. As such the results from such a study cannot be extended to females and other age groups apart from the one used.
According to Brain (20) the Asch conformity experiment had no ecological underpinnings. This simply entails that the experiment and its major findings could not apply in most real life situations. This is because the environment under which the experiment was conducted was controlled and there was no room for influence from other factors such as emotions, morals and personal perception.
The next criticism on this subject matter, has to do with the age of people who took part in the experiment. Critics under this argument state that older participants would have provided better findings since they are more mature and have experienced different life situations. This is followed the fact that older people have a very strong mental capacity and there is a very higher possibility to stick to their own personal convictions as far as the
In conclusion, it can be stated that despite Asch’s study being highly criticized, it has established a basic fundamental truth on the importance of studying peer pressure or group pressure as it is one of the primary catalysts of social problems.
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