It is well known that when an individual joins agroup he tends to accept the group's standards of behavior and thinking. Many illustrations couldbe given of this from everyday life, but what is of particular interest to psychologists is the extent to which people's judgments and opinions can be changed as a result of group pressure. Asch andothers noticed that people in a group will agree to statements that are contrary to the evidence of their senses. It would be a mistake to think that only particular changeable people are chosen to take part in experiments of this type.Usually highly intelligent and independent people are used.
In a typical experiment, this is what may happen. The experimenter asks for volunteers tojoin a group which is investigating visual perception. The victims are not, therefore, aware ofthe real purpose of the experiment. Each volunteer is taken to a room where he finds a group of about seven people who are collaborating with the experimenter. The group is shown astandard card which contains a single line. They are then asked to look at a second card. Thishas three lines on it. One is obviously longer than the line on the first card, one is shorter andone the same length. They have to say which line on the second card is the same length as theline on the standard card.
The other members of the group answer first but what the volunteerdoes not know is that they have been told to pick one of the wrong lines. When his turn comeshe is faced with the unanimous opinion of the rest of the group—all the others have chosen line A but he quite clearly sees line B as correct. What will he do? According to Asch,more than half of the victims chosen will change their opinion.
What is equally surprising is that,when interviewed about their answers, most explained that they know the group choice wasincorrect but that they yield to the pressure of the group because they thought they must besuffering from an optical illusion, or because they were afraid of being different.
1. The psychologists are particularly interested in_______.
A. the changes in the attitudes of the people
B. the degree of changes of people's opinions
C. the result of the experiment
D. the difference in people's characters
2. People who are usually chosen to take part in the experiments are_______.
A. stubborn and independent
C. ignorant and docile
D. capable of reasoning
3.Which of the following statements is TRUE?
A. The experimenter and all the members of the group except the victim know the purposeof the experiment.
B. All of them know the purpose of the experiment.
C. Only the experimenter knows the purpose of the experiment.
D. Only the victim knows the purpose of the experiment.
4. More than half of the victims changed their opinion because_______.
A. someone in the group changed their opinion
B. they thought their eyes must be deceived
C. they thought the group choice was correct.
D. they had been told about the answer
5. The purpose of the author in writing this passage is to_______.
A. illustrate the influence of the group's pressure on individual's behavior
B. invite more volunteers to join in Asch's experiment
C. tell the audience how to perform psychological experiment
D. encourage people to act against the group's opinion