Psychology Psychology Science Minute — 20 September 2013
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#73 – Social Pressure and Countries

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Based on Research by Solomon Asch, Ph.D., 1952 and Drs Rod Bond and Peter B. Smith, 1996. Psychology Science Minute written by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D..

Why are some people more likely to give into social pressure and others are not? English psychologists, Rod Bond and Peter Smith found that people from different cultures vary considerably on their response to social pressure.

They analyzed the results of 133 different research studies on conformity in the US and in other countries. They also gathered surveys measuring each country’s beliefs in group relations versus individualism. Group relations countries valued people working together, and the need for responsibility and obedience. Individualistic countries emphasized independence, individual achievement, and self-reliance.  Not surprisingly, persons from group oriented countries scored higher on conformity than persons in countries identified as valuing individualism.

More research is needed to determine how individualistic and group-oriented countries can best relate to establish common goals, resolve conflicts and work together for a better world.

Countries need a certain amount of compliance to social rules and laws in order to cooperate for the benefit of its members. However, for countries to thrive, they also need individuals who are willing to weather ridicule, embarrassment, or be ostracized so that creativity, innovation, and diverse ideas can facilitate adaptation to new circumstances.

Be open-minded and kind when others express new or diverse ideas as they may benefit everyone.

 

References:

Asch, Solomon E. (1952). Chp. 16 Group forces in the modification and distortion of judgments, (pp. 450-501). In Asch, Solomon E. (1952). Social psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US: Prentice-Hall, Inc. xiii, 649 pp. doi: 10.1037/10025-016

Asch, Solomon E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure.  Scientific American, 193, 5, 31-35.

Asch, S. E. (1956). Studies of independence and conformity. A minority of one against a unanimous majority. Psychological Monographs, 70(9, Whole No. 416).

Bond, Rod & Smith, Peter B. (1996). Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s (1952b, 1956) line judgment task.  Psychological Bulletin, Vol 119(1), 111-137. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.119.1.111

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