Asch Conformity Experiments - Interpretations - Social Comparison Theory

Social Comparison Theory

The conformity demonstrated in Asch experiments is problematic for social comparison theory, which suggests that we have a drive to validate our beliefs; we typically do this through simple observation. However, when we cannot do this (i.e., when something is ambiguous), we validate our beliefs through evaluation of the beliefs of others. Accepting the beliefs of others as reality is known as informational influence. Thus, social comparison theory predicts that when physical reality testing yields uncertainty, social reality testing, or informational influence will arise. The Asch conformity experiments demonstrated that uncertainty can arise as an outcome of social reality testing. In relation, this inconsistency has been used to support the position that the theoretical distinction between social reality testing and physical reality testing, as well as the distinction between informational influence and normative influence, are untenable.

Read more about this topic:  Asch Conformity Experiments, Interpretations

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