Conform or not to conform that is the question

In psychology, the Asch conformity experiments were a series of laboratory experiments directed by Solomon Asch in the 1950s that demonstrated the degree to which an individual’s own opinions are influenced by those of a majority group. Male college students participated in a simple “perceptual” task. In reality, all but one of the participants actors, and the true focus of the study was about how the remaining student (i.e., the real participant) would react to the actors’ behaviour. Each participant was placed in a room with seven “actors”. The actors knew the true aim of the experiment, but were introduced as participants to the “real” participant. Participants were shown a card with a line on it, followed by a card with three lines on it (lines labeled A, B, and C, respectively). Participants were then asked to say aloud which line (i.e., A, B, or C) matched the line on the first card in length. Each line question was called a “trial”. Prior to the experiment, all actors were given specific instructions on how they should respond to each trial. Specifically, they were told to unanimously give the correct response or unanimously give the incorrect response. The group sat in a manner so that the real participant was always the last to respond (i.e., the real participant sat towards the end of a table). For the first two trials, the participant would feel at ease in the experiment, as he and the confederates gave the obvious, correct answer. On the third trial, the actors would all give the same wrong answer, placing the participant in a dilemma. There were 18 trials in total and the confederates answered incorrectly for 12 of them. These 12 were known as the “critical trials”. The aim was to see whether the real participant would change his answer and respond in the same way as the confederates, despite it being the wrong answer. Overall, in the experimental group, 75% of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question. Another word for conformity is fear. Invite someone to take a closer look at Christ (who did not conform) and his church