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FREE Conformity - Asch Essay

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Much research has been done in the past century on conformity to a majority. This is when there is a change in behaviour when in the minority of an issue and resultantly agreeing with the majority on the issue. Social Psychologist Solomon Asch investigated this social influence in a series of classic studies (1951, 1952, 1956, as cited in Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, Bem, Nolen-Hoeksema, 2000). His experiment involved a participant being seated with seven to nine confederates. They were all presented with a standard line and three comparison lines. The group was then asked to judge which line was the same length as the standard line. They had to go round the group and say their answer. The subject was sitting in the next-to-last seat. The confederates had been told to give the wrong answer in twelve predetermined trials of the eighteen. When not subjected to any group pressure 95% of subjects got the answer correct. However when in this group situation about 75% of the subjects conformed at least once with the incorrect majority.

Many replications of this experiment have been carried out. But in the majority of cases there has been little conformity of the subjects. This led Perrin and Spencer (1981) to say that Asch's findings were "a child of it's time ; a reflection of the cultural and situational factors of the time when the 1950's student subjects were unobtrusive members of society. In their replication experiment only one out of 396 trials did a subject conform. This has been the case with many other replication experiments. Nicholson, Cole and Rocklin (1985) repeated the experiment and looked at the difference between UK and USA. He found there was no significant difference between the two countries and found there to be generally lower conformity rates to Asch's experiments; 20 “ 25% rate of conformity. This suggests that society has changed since the 1950s when Asch carried out

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The Outsiders Essay Research Paper

The Outsiders Essay, Research Paper

Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Outsiders” is a 1980’s melodrama, based on teenage behavior in the 1950’s. The film is about two groups of teenagers who attend the same high school and live in the same town, but lead radically different lives. One group, known as The South-Side Socials (more casually called “socs”), is the more privileged group. The second group, The Greasers, are the less privileged kids, who just so happen to live on the wrong side of town. These two groups have had rivalry against each other for many years, but on one particular night, this rivalry turns deadly as one of the greasers, Johnny, stabs and kills a soc, Bob, in defense of his friend, Pony boy Curtis. The rivalry becomes more severe on both sides after the murder; the socs’ trying to avenge the death of their friend; the greasers trying to get the town to understand that the socs’ are at fault also. Coppola’s film is a vivid depiction of how social groups can define our behavior, and how deviance and crime are viewed in relation to our social group.

In the text “Sociology in our Times: Second Edition”, A social group is defined as a collection of two or more people who interact frequently with one another, share a sense of belonging and have a feeling of interdependence. It is obvious that both the socs’ and the greasers care deeply for each member of the respective group. Towards the end of the film, as Johnny is being hospitalized for severe burns and is near death, Pony Boy tells him that he doesn’t think that he could get along with out him. These boys have formed such strong social bonds with one another that even the thought of losing one of their group causes a severe emotional reaction. An “In-group” is best defined as a group to which a person belongs with and which the person feels a sense of identity. Conversely, an “out-group” is a group in which that same person does not belong and toward which the person may feel a sense of competitiveness or hostility. In “The Outsiders,” each group clearly views the opposing group as its out-group. It was considered a more in this teenage world for a member of one group to fraternize with one from another. These feelings of group superiority, or ethnocentrism, seem to be unshakable from parties in each faction, until the death of Bob occurs. After this earth-shattering event, members of both the greasers and the socs’ start to question their behaviors. They start to come to the realization that fighting is not going to solve anything; however, at the same time they realize that no matter what “a soc will still be a soc, and a greaser will still be a greaser.”

Conformity is the process of maintaining or changing ones behavior to comply with the norms established by society or a group. Pressure to conform is a powerful thing, as demonstrated in Solomon Asch’s research (1955, 1956). In Asch’s experiment, his subjects were willing to contradict their own best judgment if the rest of the group disagreed with them. In discussing the experiment afterwards, most of the subjects who gave incorrect responses indicated that they had known the answers were wrong but decided to go along with the group in order to avoid ridicule or ostracism. This idea is prevalent in “The Outsiders” when a popular soc girl, Sherri Valence, who is known as “Cherry” because of her red hair, is seated next to Pony Boy and Johnny at the drive in theatre. Cherry and her friend, Marcia, start talking to Pony and Johnny, and start to realize that they are nice boys, at one point in the evening Cherry refers to Pony as “dreamy”. As the group is walking home from the drive in, some soc boys drive up next to Cherry, Marcia, Pony, Johnny, and 2bit and a fight begins to ensue amongst the boys. Cherry, who hates fighting, agrees to go with the soc boys in order to prevent any one getting hurt. As she is leaving the company of Pony, she pulls him aside and says

“If I see you in school and I don’t say ‘Hi’, please don’t take it personal… I mean, you’re a real nice boy and everything….”

Here it is clear, that despite Cherry’s fondness for Pony boy, she will succumb to the pressures of her social group by not talking to Pony in school. There are many instances like these involving Cherry and Pony boy through out the film. It is sad to think that two people who have feelings for one another should deny those feelings solely to avoid the ostracism of their peers. Another such instance is during the final “rumble” in the vacant lot when Derry confronts an old friend, Paul, some one whom he used to “pal around with, play ball with.” This former friend, who now belongs to the socs’ walks up to Derry and says, “Long time no see… I’ll take you” and the proceeds to punch him in the face. It is hard to believe that two people who used to be close friends are now at odds with each other because they now live on opposite sides of town.

Everyone has his or her different ideas as to what “deviance” is. The text defines deviance as any behavior, belief, or condition that violates cultural norms. This definition, however, can pose questions since individuals considered to be deviant by one group, are seen as conformists by another. This idea is prominent in our every day society, as it is in “The Outsiders.” The community sees the greasers as deviant since they dress differently, style their hair differently, and so on. From the greasers point of view, styling their hair a certain way, and dressing as they do makes them feel like part of a whole. This conformity to a certain appearance helps them to feel as though they belong in a town that is constantly trying to make them feel that they don’t. The Functionalist Perspective sees deviance as necessary in society for three reasons. It clarifies rules, unites groups, and promotes social change. These three ideals are represented in the film as well. The greasers’ so-called deviant behavior helps to unite the socs’ together by banding against the greasers; on the same token, the greasers are banded together in their oppositions to the socs. Social change begins to occur after Bobs death, when people from both sides start to see the error in their past ways. While Johnny is in the hospital, near death, Pony and Dallas come to give him the good news that the greasers beat the socs. Johnny is less than ecstatic about this victory, and his dying words are “It’s useless, fighting ain’t no good….” In a conversation between Pony and Cherry prior to the rumble, Pony makes Cherry see that they are really no different from one another by asking this question

“Can you see the sunset from the south side pretty good?”

Cherry replies “Yeah…”

Pony: “We can see it form the north side too.”

Cherry: “Thank you.”

It is clear that social change is beginning to take place, as a result of the greasers’ deviance. Another sociological aspect in the film is the Labeling Theory. This theory states that deviants are those people who are successfully labeled as such by others. One could argue that the socs’ are just as deviant as the greasers, but since the socs’ come from upper class families, they are not labeled as “troublemakers” by the local police force. Every time we see the socs’ in the film, they are drinking, or already drunk. At not one instance in the film are the greasers under the influence of any substance. Yet, it is made clear that if the police ever picks up Pony Boy, Soda Pop, or Dallas, they will be sent immediately to a boys home. This unfair advantage that the socs’ have over the greasers’ is a perfect example of the ill effects that labeling can cause.

In conclusion, Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Outsiders,” with its brilliant cast of characters, masterfully illustrates the perils that con come from competition between groups. It illuminates the hardships that In-groups, out groups, Ethnocentrism, and conformity can cause. It shows us that human behavior, mainly deviance, is the result of the point of view you are approaching it from.

Kendall, D. Sociology in our times second edition. Wadsworth publishing; 1999.

PSYCH 018 - Observation Research Paper

Observation Research Project

Read everything before doing anything!

This is one of the two research papers you will be writing in this course. You may work in groups of two, but each of you must write your own paper. The paper must contain all the parts of a research paper:

Title Page This must be in APA style. Don’t use the words “A Study of” or “An Observation of” in the title. Abstract A very brief summary of the contents of your article. This should be no more than 150 words (the APA style guide recommends 120). Introduction The introduction gives the background of the problem you are investigating. This is where you summarize previous research in the area. You must have at least two three references in your paper. Don’t go into excessive detail about the references; as the APA guide says, “Assume that the reader is knowledgeable about the basic problem and does not require a complete accounting of its history.” (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 28)

After the historical review, explain the purpose of your observation, and give your main hypothesis and any alternate hypotheses.

Method This can be broken into subsections that talk about the participants, apparatus (if you need any), and procedure. Write this section in the past tense. This doesn’t mean you have to wait until the observation is finished to start writing; you can plan out your method (in fact, you’d better do that before you start observing!) and write it down as if it had already occurred. After all, when you finish the observation, it will have. Results Evaluate your results in words (e.g. “The general trend shows that depressed people show more symptoms during the evening than during the day, but the results were not significant.”) Do significance testing on your results and report them in APA style. For a χ 2 statistic, either describe the frequencies in words or in a table, but not both. For Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney, and t tests, you do not need a table. Discussion Evaluate your results in light of your hypothesis or hypotheses. Begin with a clear statement of the support or rejection of your original hypothesis. You may wish to compare your results to previous results in the field. References These must be in APA style. You may not. under any circumstances, use any paper by Milgram, Skinner, Zimbardo, Asch, Festinger, or Bandura as a reference, nor may they be the topic of your reference. Yes, they did groundbreaking work, but much has been done since. You must have at least three references from peer-reviewed journals or books.

Process

Pre-review Before you start your observations, you will write part of the abstract, introduction (your area of research and your hypotheses), the method section of your paper, and the references. Obviously, you can’t include information about the number of participants, nor the results that you obtained, as you haven’t done the observing yet. This pre-review material will be due on the date shown on the main index page.. During lab that day, another student will assess your paper using this scale Peer Review The first draft of your observation and paper must be complete by the date showno n the index page. Another student will assess your paper using this scale. and return the assessment to me on that same day. (This will take longer; there’s more to read than in the pre-review.) Presentations / Final Version Presentations will start on 6 November 2014. Presentations must a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of five minutes. Each presentation will be followed by a maximum of five minutes of discussion. We will use lab time during those class sessions. I will use this scale to assess your presentations. Final Version of Paper The final version of the paper is due on 6 November 2014. Upload the word processing document and Excel spreadsheet with your raw data to Moodle. The word processing documents must have a name of the form observation. .doc (or .docx. or .odt if you’re using LibreOffice) and the spreadsheet must have a name of the form observation. .xls. or .xlsx. where . is your four-digit identifier. If you are using LibreOffice, the file name will end with .ods.

I will use the same scale as the peer review to grade your papers, with the following additonal penalties:

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH Paper by

sOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH

Researchers over the years perform experiments to study the reasons why some people do the irrational things that they do. The Asch conformity experiments also know as the Asch Paradigm was a series of studies led and developed by a man by the name of Solomon Asch. These studies demonstrated the power of conformity in groups (Boeree. 1999. Another study known as the Milgram experiment was a series of influential societal psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram (Boeree. 1999. This study measured and calculated the readiness of

the participants in the study to obey an authority figure who instructed them to carry out acts that clashed with their personal conscience (Boeree. 1999

Due to these type experiments. it appears that human nature is greatly influenced by external forces (particularly other people ) as opposed to being influenced by one 's own independent thinking. values and beliefs (Boeree. 1999

THE ASCH STUDY. THE NEED TO CONFORM

The experiments led by Solomon Asch requested a group of students to participate in a "vision test " However. in actuality. all but one of the participants was a co-conspirator of the experimenter. The study led by Asch was performed to determine how the remaining student would respond to the behavior and answers of the confederates ' who was actually working with the experimenter (Boeree. 1999

According to the results of the experiment. while most participants answered questions asked of them correctly even though the confederates were prearranged to give incorrect answers to questions asked. 32 of the participants actually conformed to the erroneous popular view of the others in the room when there were at least three confederates in attendance when the confederates were in agreement (Boeree. 1999 Participants who had no exposure to a majority view had no trouble giving the correct answer based on what they really believed (Boeree 1999

People tend to be more influenced by external factors (other people 's views ) instead of thinking for themselves. This may be due to fear of rejection or punishment. Everyone wants to be accepted by others and because of this they 'd just rather go with the majority view even at the risk of losing ones own self worth in the process

THE MILGRAM STUDY. THE NEED TO OBEY

According to the Milgram experiment people enthusiastically and readily obey when an authority figure is the one giving a command even when the command is irrational. This may be due to many reasons such as fear of punishment or expectancy of a reward (Boeree. 1999. It is also generally due to an element of trust being involved. Many people may relate obedience to authority ' as being righteousness (doing what is right. The problem with this is that they should first evaluate whether the command or instruction is a valid. rational and righteous command to obey. In regard to the need to obey as well as to conform people tend to fear embarrassment of rebuke before their peers due to having ego and pride.

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Paraphrase Opinions and Social Pressures by Solomon E

Paraphrase: Opinions and Social Pressures by Solomon E. Asch Paraphrase: Opinions and Social Pressures by Solomon E. Asch

How Strong Is the Urge Toward Social Conformity?

The article, “Opinions and Social Pressures”, by Solomon E. Asch, demonstrates how easily people’s decisions can be influenced by others.
Exactly what is the effect of the opinions of others on our own? Asch research was to test how a person would react to group pressure upon the minds of the individuals.
During a series of “psychological experiments”, Asch proved that people will often change their view or decision if they are challenged, regardless if the information that’s being given is true or false. Prior to the start of the study this selected group of participants was told to intentionally lie about the correct answer except for one of them. The intentions were that this selected group of participants would give the wrong answer universally.
Asch made up numerous collegiate groups of male participants and their close friends, and was asked to compare two discernible scenarios. The scientific inquiry involved the process of identifying the size of a line on a single paper and matching it to one of three samples on separate papers consisting of two other lines of different lengths, two additional papers of considerably different lengths or a final paper consisting of three identical lines.
The protocol followed throughout the questioning to all participants was uniform by giving their result in sequence of their seating arrangement. The initial scenario the results were interchangeable as well as the next. As the third scenario unfolded so did the results. Now with each step of the scenario the selected group of participants continued to choose the wrong answer while the single participant answered correctly. This eventually pressured the single participant, whom sat close to the last participant, to alter his thinking of answers while becoming somewhat distressing in his approach. To avoid surmise, from time to time, the selected group of participants would respond.

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Solomon Asch - New World Encyclopedia

Solomon Asch

Solomon Asch's experiments uncovered the tendency to conform among many people, but they also revealed the existence of independence in the face of erroneous group opinion.

Solomon Asch is famous for his research in the field of conformity where his well known experiments showed that social pressure can make a person say something that is obviously incorrect. His findings serve as a warning that the human tendency to conform, which may be valuable in maintaining a harmonious and cohesive society. can be dangerous when the majority opinion is incorrect. Asch remained positive in his belief in the goodness of human beings and our capacity for independence. While his experiments uncovered the tendency to conform among many people they also revealed the existence of independence in the face of erroneous group opinion. His findings also showed that resistance to social pressure is greatly enhanced by the presence of even one dissenter who stands firm in their belief in the truth.

Life

Solomon Asch was born on September 14, 1907 in Warsaw, Poland. which at that time belonged to the Russian Empire. His family moved to the United States in 1920, where they lived in New York City. The young Asch learned English by reading the works of Charles Dickens .

He received his bachelors degree from The College of the City of New York in 1928. Asch went on to study psychology at Columbia University. where he received his master's degree in 1930 and Ph.D. in 1932. His principal mentor at Columbia was the pioneering Gestalt psychologist, Max Wertheimer .

Asch continued to live and work in the New York area for several years. He married his wife, Florence, and their son, Peter, was born while they lived in Brooklyn. Peter became a professor of economics at Rutgers University, where Solomon Asch also taught.

Asch had a distinguished academic career as a psychologist that spanned half a century. After holding a number of teaching positions in New York, including at Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research, he taught for 19 years at Swarthmore College where he worked with a group of prominent psychologists including Wolfgang Köhler. another key figure in the development Gestalt psychology. He also held visiting posts at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Asch served as professor and director of the Institute for Cognitive Studies at Rutgers University from 1966 to 1972, after which he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as a professor in 1972, remaining there as emeritus professor from 1979.

Asch's research focused on the impact of the social context on our perception and understanding of the world. His most famous studies were on conformity. He recounted an early childhood experience in Poland as the inspiration for this work. Attending a Passover Seder as a young boy he had asked who the extra glass of wine was for and was told the prophet Elijah. He was also told that Elijah would indeed drink the wine. With that expectation, Asch thought he saw the level of the wine drop a little.

He began his research in the 1930s when Adolf Hitler had come to power and social influence, in the form of propaganda and indoctrination, on people's behavior was of great interest. Based on his studies, Asch concluded that propaganda is most effective when ignorance and fear are combined. However, he held the belief that human beings seek truth not falsehood, and that although they can be misled into regrettable actions people will act in a good way when given the appropriate information.

As well as his teaching and research, Asch served as president of the Division of Personality and Social Psychology of the American Psychological Association and as chairman of its Committee on Academic Freedom in 1957. He was also associate editor of the journal Psychological Review from 1957 to 1962.

Asch received many awards including the Nicholas Murray Butler Medal from Columbia University in 1962 and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association in 1967.

Solomon Asch died on February 20, 1996 in Haverford, Pennsylvania at the age of 88. Florence Asch, his wife of years, survived him for six years, dying on March 27, 2002 aged 92.

Work

Solomon Asch began his work as a student and later colleague of Gestalt psychologists. They regarded perception. learning, and cognition as structured wholes rather than the sum of individual components connected by association, and thus were in opposition to the Behaviorist approach. The Gestalt school, however, held in common with Behaviorism the importance of the scientific method, and both rejected the introspective approach and the psychoanalytic school.

Social Psychology

With this background, when Asch turned his attention to the impact of social factors on our perception of the world his approach was groundbreaking. Through his experiments Asch demonstrated the importance of socially defined reality, or the influence of social factors such as peer pressure on our perception of the world. His research led to seminal studies in the field of social psychology. in particular his famous experiments on conformity.

Asch's work was more than a series of experiments, however, as his writings set the direction for this field in the twentieth century. He published his textbook Social Psychology in 1952. This classic text presented his view of psychology as a scientific enterprise, using the scientific method:

If there must be principles of scientific method, then surely the first to claim our attention is that one should describe phenomena faithfully and allow them to guide the choice of problems and procedures (Asch 1952).

For Asch, the aim of psychology is to understand the human being. which he recognized to act and think both as an individual and in a group. The relationship between the individual and the social group is complex, as the individual influences how the group behaves and also the group affects the individual's behavior:

We must see group phenomena as both the product and condition of actions of individuals (Asch 1952).

Most social acts have to be understood in their setting, and lose meaning if isolated. No error in thinking about social facts is more serious than the failure to see their place and function (Asch 1952).

Conformity experiments

Asch's conformity experiments. which were published in the early 1950s, were a series of studies that starkly demonstrated the power of conformity in groups. The basic purpose of the experiment was to set physical and social reality at odds—subjects were faced with the evidence of their senses being opposed by the opinion of a group of their peers. The basic paradigm involved asking each participant to make simple judgments about visual stimuli (that they had no problem answering correctly when alone) after being led to believe that all other members of a viewing group had the same, but incorrect, opinion. The results showed that a significant number of participants conformed to the group on at least one occasion.

One of the pairs of cards used in the experiment. The card on the left has the reference line and the one on the right shows the three comparison lines.

In the original experiment (Asch 1955) male college students were gathered in groups of seven to nine participants. Only one was the real subject; all the others were confederates who had been instructed on how to respond. The experimenter told the participants they would be shown a card with a single vertical line, the standard, followed by a card with three vertical lines. Their task was to state out loud which of the three lines was the same length as the standard line. The participants announced their answers one by one in order around the room. On the third trial the confederates unanimously chose the same wrong line, leaving the real subject alone in picking the correct answer. As the experiment continued the subject faced this group pressure to conform to the wrong response for a total of 12 out of 18 trials. To Asch's surprise, a significant number of subjects (over 30 percent) did conform to the obviously wrong response.

Individual variation in the subjects was also noted, with some subjects following the majority almost all the time while others (approximately 25 percent) maintained their independence and always gave the correct answer. In an effort to increase this rate independence, or decrease the rate of conformity, the discrepancy between the standard line and the other lines was increased. Surprisingly, even when the difference was as much as seven inches there were still some subjects who yielded to the pressure of the group. Asch regarded this finding with great concern:

That we have found the tendency to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern. It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct (Asch 1955).

Further experiments studied the factors that lead to such conformity. It was found that changing the number of confederates giving the wrong responses was significant. When only a single confederate gave the wrong response there was little impact on the subject, but when the group was increased so that three gave the same wrong response the subject conformed to their error at a rate of 32 percent. Further increases in the number of confederates had little impact. On the other hand, reducing the unanimity of the confederates' responses was also important. When one confederate continued to give the correct response the subject's conformity was greatly reduced. This finding illuminates the power that even a small dissenting minority can have (Asch 1956). Interestingly, this finding held whether or not the dissenting confederate gave the correct answer. As long as the dissenting confederate gave an answer that was different from the majority, participants were more likely to give the correct answer.

Asch's experiments raised at least as many, if not more, questions than they provided answers. One question concerns the motivation of the subjects. Rather than testing conformity, Asch's study may have simply measured an uninterested student's reluctance to engage in conflict over the answers. This interpretation is supported by the finding that when even one confederate was allowed to give the correct answer, conforming responses dropped significantly.

A meta-analysis of conformity studies following Asch's paradigm reported that measures of conformity are not consistent. For example, they found that conformity among Americans has declined since the 1950s. Analysis of studies in other countries suggested that cultural variables, in particular the country's rating of the value of individualism versus collectivism, was significantly related to the conformity of its citizens (Bond and Smith 1996).

Asch's experiments did not distinguish between behavioral acquiescence and actual change in perception. His subjects were interviewed at the end of the experiment and a variety of reasons were given. Some reported that they followed the majority opinion so as not to spoil the results, or to fit in with the group. Several of those who conformed to the majority response attributed their performance to their own misjudgment and "poor eyesight." A 2005 study by Berns and colleagues using functional MRI scanners showed that social conformity engages regions of the brain devoted to spatial awareness (Berns et al 2005). In other words, experimental subjects in their study who gave in to group pressure actually saw things that way. Conformity in this case was due to a change in perception rather than conscious judgment.

Legacy

The legacy of Solomon Asch is evident in the field of social psychology which he helped to define. His pioneering approach, both theoretically and experimentally, established the view that human behavior is not a response to the world as it is but as it is perceived .

Social psychology

The great challenge for social psychology has been to create a harmonious combination of the rigor of natural science with the rich complexity of human social life. The greatness of Asch's work lies in how he showed the way to this balanced and productive blend of natural and social science. On the one hand, Asch was a pioneer of the clever and crucial experiment. of disciplined data collection with an eye toward alternative accounts. On the other hand, he insisted on the fundamental role of context and relations, the richness of the human mind, and the importance of being informed by history. culture. the arts, and human common sense. In contrast to the two dominant ideologies in psychology in his time, behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Asch assumed that humans were basically rational and decent, and that the social world and social matrix of human life had a level of organization worth of attention in its own right.

Asch's Social Pschology. first published in 1952 and reprinted in 1987, was revolutionary in its approach and became the standard text in the field for decades and remains relevant today.

Influence on other researchers

It was Solomon Asch that inspired the work of the controversial psychologist Stanley Milgram. He served as Asch's teaching and research assistant at Harvard University. as well as helping him edit a book on conformity, and considered Asch to be the most important scientific influence on his research (Blass 2004). In his own research Milgram explored the possibility that social pressure had the power to influence something more consequential than the simple line judgments that Asch had used. Milgram's experiments on obedience to authority shocked the world.

Solomon Asch also cooperated with Herman Witkin (1916—1979) and inspired many of his ideas on cognitive style. Witkin was interested in how personality can be revealed through differences in how people perceive their environment. While Asch studied the impact of the social environment, Witkin focused on the perceptual context. He developed the Embedded Figures Test which identifies an individual's perception when asked to distinguish object figures from the content field, a distracting or confusing background, in which they are set. This instrument distinguishes field-independent from field-dependent cognitive types. Field-independent people are quickly able to find the hidden figures, while field-dependent people have trouble locating simple figures embedded within more complex surroundings.

Major works
  • Asch, S. E. 1946. Forming impressions of personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 41(3): 258-290. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  • Asch, S. E. 1951. Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgment. In H. Guetzkow (ed.) Groups, leadership and men. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Press. (summary Retrieved December 29, 2010.)
  • Asch, S. E. [1952] 1987. Social Psychology. New York, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198521723
  • Asch, S. E. 1955. Opinions and Social Pressure Scientific American. 193: 31-35. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  • Asch, S. E. 1956. Studies of independence and conformity: A minority of one against a unanimous majority. Psychological Monographs, 70 (Whole no. 416).
  • Asch, S. E. 1962. A perspective on social psychology. In Koch, Sigmund (ed.), Psychology: A Study of a Science. 3: 363-383. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
References
  • Benner, David G. and Peter C. Hill (eds). 1999. Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling. Baker Books. ISBN 978-0801021008
  • Berns, Gregory S. Jonathan Chappelow, Caroline F. Zink, Giuseppe Pagnoni, Megan E. Martin-Skurski, and Jim Richards. 2005. Neurobiological Correlates of Social Conformity and Independence During Mental Rotation. Biological Psychiatry 58:245–253. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  • Blass, Thomas. 2004. The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram. New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN 0738203998
  • Bond, R. and P. Smith. 1996. Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s (1952b, 1956) line judgment task. Psychological Bulletin 119(1):111-137. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  • Ceraso, J. Rock, I. and Gruber H. 1990. On Solomon Asch. In The Legacy of Solomon Asch: Essays on Cognition and Social Psychology. Psychology Press.
  • Cherry, Kendra. 2010. Solomon Asch Biography. Psychology Guide. About.com, Inc. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  • Cherry, Kendra. 2010. The Asch Conformity Experiments. Psychology Guide. About.com, Inc. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  • Rock, Irvin. (ed.) 1990. The Legacy of Solomon Asch: Essays in Cognition and Social Psychology. Psychology Press. ISBN 0805804404
  • Stout, David. 1996. Solomon Asch Is Dead at 88; A Leading Social Psychologist New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  • Wren, Kevin. 1999. Social Influences. Routledge. ISBN 0415186587
External links

All links retrieved July 3, 2013.

Credits

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The Outsiders Essay, Research Paper

Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Outsiders” is a 1980’s melodrama, based on teenage behavior in the 1950’s. The film is about two groups of teenagers who attend the same high school and live in the same town, but lead radically different lives. One group, known as The South-Side Socials (more casually called “socs”), is the more privileged group. The second group, The Greasers, are the less privileged kids, who just so happen to live on the wrong side of town. These two groups have had rivalry against each other for many years, but on one particular night, this rivalry turns deadly as one of the greasers, Johnny, stabs and kills a soc, Bob, in defense of his friend, Pony boy Curtis. The rivalry becomes more severe on both sides after the murder; the socs’ trying to avenge the death of their friend; the greasers trying to get the town to understand that the socs’ are at fault also. Coppola’s film is a vivid depiction of how social groups can define our behavior, and how deviance and crime are viewed in relation to our social group.

In the text “Sociology in our Times: Second Edition”, A social group is defined as a collection of two or more people who interact frequently with one another, share a sense of belonging and have a feeling of interdependence. It is obvious that both the socs’ and the greasers care deeply for each member of the respective group. Towards the end of the film, as Johnny is being hospitalized for severe burns and is near death, Pony Boy tells him that he doesn’t think that he could get along with out him. These boys have formed such strong social bonds with one another that even the thought of losing one of their group causes a severe emotional reaction. An “In-group” is best defined as a group to which a person belongs with and which the person feels a sense of identity. Conversely, an “out-group” is a group in which that same person does not belong and toward which the person may feel a sense of competitiveness or hostility. In “The Outsiders,” each group clearly views the opposing group as its out-group. It was considered a more in this teenage world for a member of one group to fraternize with one from another. These feelings of group superiority, or ethnocentrism, seem to be unshakable from parties in each faction, until the death of Bob occurs. After this earth-shattering event, members of both the greasers and the socs’ start to question their behaviors. They start to come to the realization that fighting is not going to solve anything; however, at the same time they realize that no matter what “a soc will still be a soc, and a greaser will still be a greaser.”

Conformity is the process of maintaining or changing ones behavior to comply with the norms established by society or a group. Pressure to conform is a powerful thing, as demonstrated in Solomon Asch’s research (1955, 1956). In Asch’s experiment, his subjects were willing to contradict their own best judgment if the rest of the group disagreed with them. In discussing the experiment afterwards, most of the subjects who gave incorrect responses indicated that they had known the answers were wrong but decided to go along with the group in order to avoid ridicule or ostracism. This idea is prevalent in “The Outsiders” when a popular soc girl, Sherri Valence, who is known as “Cherry” because of her red hair, is seated next to Pony Boy and Johnny at the drive in theatre. Cherry and her friend, Marcia, start talking to Pony and Johnny, and start to realize that they are nice boys, at one point in the evening Cherry refers to Pony as “dreamy”. As the group is walking home from the drive in, some soc boys drive up next to Cherry, Marcia, Pony, Johnny, and 2bit and a fight begins to ensue amongst the boys. Cherry, who hates fighting, agrees to go with the soc boys in order to prevent any one getting hurt. As she is leaving the company of Pony, she pulls him aside and says

“If I see you in school and I don’t say ‘Hi’, please don’t take it personal… I mean, you’re a real nice boy and everything….”

Here it is clear, that despite Cherry’s fondness for Pony boy, she will succumb to the pressures of her social group by not talking to Pony in school. There are many instances like these involving Cherry and Pony boy through out the film. It is sad to think that two people who have feelings for one another should deny those feelings solely to avoid the ostracism of their peers. Another such instance is during the final “rumble” in the vacant lot when Derry confronts an old friend, Paul, some one whom he used to “pal around with, play ball with.” This former friend, who now belongs to the socs’ walks up to Derry and says, “Long time no see… I’ll take you” and the proceeds to punch him in the face. It is hard to believe that two people who used to be close friends are now at odds with each other because they now live on opposite sides of town.

Everyone has his or her different ideas as to what “deviance” is. The text defines deviance as any behavior, belief, or condition that violates cultural norms. This definition, however, can pose questions since individuals considered to be deviant by one group, are seen as conformists by another. This idea is prominent in our every day society, as it is in “The Outsiders.” The community sees the greasers as deviant since they dress differently, style their hair differently, and so on. From the greasers point of view, styling their hair a certain way, and dressing as they do makes them feel like part of a whole. This conformity to a certain appearance helps them to feel as though they belong in a town that is constantly trying to make them feel that they don’t. The Functionalist Perspective sees deviance as necessary in society for three reasons. It clarifies rules, unites groups, and promotes social change. These three ideals are represented in the film as well. The greasers’ so-called deviant behavior helps to unite the socs’ together by banding against the greasers; on the same token, the greasers are banded together in their oppositions to the socs. Social change begins to occur after Bobs death, when people from both sides start to see the error in their past ways. While Johnny is in the hospital, near death, Pony and Dallas come to give him the good news that the greasers beat the socs. Johnny is less than ecstatic about this victory, and his dying words are “It’s useless, fighting ain’t no good….” In a conversation between Pony and Cherry prior to the rumble, Pony makes Cherry see that they are really no different from one another by asking this question

“Can you see the sunset from the south side pretty good?”

Cherry replies “Yeah…”

Pony: “We can see it form the north side too.”

Cherry: “Thank you.”

It is clear that social change is beginning to take place, as a result of the greasers’ deviance. Another sociological aspect in the film is the Labeling Theory. This theory states that deviants are those people who are successfully labeled as such by others. One could argue that the socs’ are just as deviant as the greasers, but since the socs’ come from upper class families, they are not labeled as “troublemakers” by the local police force. Every time we see the socs’ in the film, they are drinking, or already drunk. At not one instance in the film are the greasers under the influence of any substance. Yet, it is made clear that if the police ever picks up Pony Boy, Soda Pop, or Dallas, they will be sent immediately to a boys home. This unfair advantage that the socs’ have over the greasers’ is a perfect example of the ill effects that labeling can cause.

In conclusion, Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Outsiders,” with its brilliant cast of characters, masterfully illustrates the perils that con come from competition between groups. It illuminates the hardships that In-groups, out groups, Ethnocentrism, and conformity can cause. It shows us that human behavior, mainly deviance, is the result of the point of view you are approaching it from.

Kendall, D. Sociology in our times second edition. Wadsworth publishing; 1999.