The Influence Of Social Forces Upon Individuals.

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To what extent, if any, do social forces influence an individual¡¦s opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and actions? This is the question that psychologists Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram, and Philip Zimbardo set out to answer in their 20th century, highly scrutinized, social experiments. Solomon Asch¡¦s experimental objective was to determine how much pressure one individual would endure before sacrificing his or her judgments to go along with the group, despite visual evidence that the group is clearly wrong.

Stanley Milgram set out to demonstrate how normal, every day individuals would come to violate their own moral-ethical standards by harming another human being when given commands by an authoritative figure.

Both the experimental design of the Asch and Milgram experiments involved some form of deception with the use of confederates, which were people used in research projects to provoke or produce a certain response from another individual by undermining their values and opinions.

Although achieved in two different ways, both of these psychological studies provoked an individual to go against what they knew to be right in order to produce unbiased experimental results.

The visual judgment study performed by Solomon Asch in the early 1950¡¦s, relied more on covert persuasion where the issue of group pressure on a certain individual was addressed. This study was comprised of a group of nine college age men and eight confederates, all of whom were shown two white cards with one line on one card and three lines on the other. Subjects were asked to voice their own opinion as to which line of the three corresponded with the single line on the separate card. The confederates consistently chose the wrong line in order to provoke the unknowing test subject to change his own opinion even though he could see with his own eyes this clearly was...