Explore BrainMass

Solomon Asch

Using the Scientific American article 'Opinions and Social Pressure' (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, November 1955 Volume 193, Issue 5), discuss the Solomon Asch experiment:

Anaylze the study's significance in terms of understanding group formation, group dynamics, and intergroup relations and

Evaluate the influence of major theoretical perspectives of social psychology on your interpretation of the study's significance.

Solution Preview

? Analyze the study's significance in terms of understanding group formation, group dynamics, and intergroup relations and

Solomon Asch focused his empirical work on the intrapersonal level based on his concern for cognitive processes, thus he is often considered as a forerunner of social cognition (Leyens & Corneille, 1999). Basically, Asch set a standard for a culturally-sensitive approach to social psychology. His work has had a profound impact on how psychologists think about and study social influence in groups (Levine, 1999). For instance, Asch argued that, "If there are principles of scientific method, phenomena must be described, faithfully", and allowed to guide problems and procedures (Asch, 1952 as cited in Rozin, 2001, P.2).

In his analyses, Levine examines the theoretical framework upon which Asch's ideas are formed. He sets forth the premise that Asch's ideas have been influential in terms of explaining group, and group dynamics. Levine presents four ideas of Asch that he claims aids in understanding social influence on groups: (a) social interaction, (b) independence, (c) independence and conformity, and (d) change of meaning. To explicate, as analyzed by Levine, social interaction depends on the individual's ability to represent the position of others, For instance, individuals define themselves as members of the same group and regulate their behavior in terms of the norms and behaviors of the group. Asch further postulated that, "Groups at the margin of desirable groups may attempt to adapt to acquire membership into a more desirable group" (Rozin, 2001, p. 10). With regard to independence, Asch believed that it was critical to effective group functioning. For instance, Asch held that the "other" is incapable of arousing in another a doubt that was not already there. Within this view, according to Levine (1999), Asch presents a view of contemporary social conflict that is stated to enhance individual learning and improving group ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines the theoretical framework upon which Solomon Asch's ideas are formed. The influence of Asch's ideas on group dynamics are discussed.