The Incredible Power of Conformity

Cults thrive on our vulnerabilities, and a good demonstration of just how vulnerable we all are was given in a series of experiments conducted by social psychologist Solomon Asch in the 1950s.

In this video  you can watch a modern reproduction of the experiment. All involved are “confederates”, except for the one person who is the unsuspecting subject.

Asked about a simple obvious question, everyone will give correct answers at first, but then will start to give unanimously wrong answers. Again and again.

Will the sole subject eventually give in and give the same, but wrong, answer as all the others?

As you can see, and hundreds of reproductions have confirmed, they eventually do, in an alarming proportion. More than one third of the times the subject gives in to the collective error, and up to three quarters of the subjects eventually gave in at some point.

No one was told to conform. There was nothing to gain or to lose. This is spontaneous social conformity.

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