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Are we conformists?
#2154535 09/20/13 02:09 PM
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I've just been watching a TV program which repeated an experiment that was originally tried out several decades ago, to see why so many people conformed in Nazi Germany, despite knowing that what they were doing was against humanity.

The experiment involved using 'stooges' (or 'plants') - apparently three were sufficient to convince a 'subject' to conform in many cases. The experiment simply asked the subject to say which of four lines (close together) on a piece of paper were of the same length as the single line which was by itself a few inches away, and purported to test for visual illusions.

The three stooges, one after the other, picked out the same (obviously wrong) line, then the subject had to decide whether to go with his own conviction or 'follow the crowd'. Amazingly, when the test was conducted in the 1950s, around 75% of subjects chose to follow the crowd. In the program I saw, the test was conducted in a shopping centre with random subjects, using four stooges. Despite the general consensus that we are now much less conformist than in decades past, 50% of subjects still went with the 'crowd' and picked the same wrong answer as the stooges.

So, what is the relevance of this in PW? grin
Well, having been on PW for three years and getting a fair idea of several people's posts and their unique style wink , I get the feeling that there are some posters here who always seem to conform to the opinions of one or two particular 'strong characters' and chime in to agree with them, or speak up for them when others challenge those opinions, as if whatever those characters say is always right. It has become quite predictable, in fact, and that is often the cause of threads here becoming heated when two opposing factions (one, or both of which is led by a 'strong character') start throwing bricks at each other...... grin

Obviously, I'm not naming any names, but what do others think?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154550 09/20/13 02:24 PM
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I think this base level of nigh on meta-analysis is cute laugh I've not been here nearly as long, but I too have noticed flagstones of thought here; there's definitely division and, though I think it closer to three factions, I note that, much like any government, the opinions of each individual *aren't* that of the figurehead...but, um, they're certainly close enough...so they get swept along. You're bang on the money, I think....now...let all the slightly insecure self-scrutiny begin.. laugh
Xxx


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154556 09/20/13 02:30 PM
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Well, people have rarely agreed with me so does that make me the black sheep?

Either way there are only two teams, those who are right and those who are wrong grin (that's sarcasm for the sake of the internet)


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154561 09/20/13 02:37 PM
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Surely there are those that are right, those that are wrong, and those that aren't? wink


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
Re: Are we conformists?
FSO #2154567 09/20/13 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by FSO
Surely there are those that are right, those that are wrong, and those that aren't? wink


Such a Winnie the Pooh thing to say!!!


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Are we conformists?
TheHappyMoron #2154570 09/20/13 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TheHappyMoron

Such a Winnie the Pooh thing to say!!!

Aww ^_^ Thank you...best compliment ever! ^_^


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
Re: Are we conformists?
FSO #2154580 09/20/13 02:57 PM
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Pooh Bear is one of the great philosophers of our time!


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154588 09/20/13 03:10 PM
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Beyond reproach, beyond wisdom; an absolute realist in a world gone mad.


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154593 09/20/13 03:21 PM
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Just remember that when someone says you are one in a million, this means there are 7,000 people on this earth exactly like you.

Forrest


PTG Associate Member
Haydn Hob. XVI: 23 in F major
Debussy Arabesque #1, Reverie
Bach BWV 874, 883
My beliefs are only that unless I can prove them.
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154594 09/20/13 03:22 PM
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I'm fairly new here, so I don't know about what you say about the forum, but this particular experiment doesn't prove anything about why people conformed in Nazi Germany, there's a huge difference between the two situations.
Just wanted to make that clear.


"If I decide to be an idiot, then I'll be an idiot on my own accord."
- Johann Sebastian Bach.
Re: Are we conformists?
FSO #2154606 09/20/13 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by FSO
Beyond reproach, beyond wisdom; an absolute realist in a world gone mad.


We all need a few more silly bears around! You know, when I used to go round my friend's house her daughter had loads of Pooh Bear books - safe to say I read them all laugh


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Are we conformists?
Forrest Halford #2154631 09/20/13 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by woodog
Just remember that when someone says you are one in a million, this means there are 7,000 people on this earth exactly like you.

Forrest

Well *that* would make an awkward dinner party... laugh
Originally Posted by TheHappyMoron
Originally Posted by FSO
Beyond reproach, beyond wisdom; an absolute realist in a world gone mad.


We all need a few more silly bears around! You know, when I used to go round my friend's house her daughter had loads of Pooh Bear books - safe to say I read them all laugh

First book I really recall reading; the collected works...there's something beyond perfect about them...unlike that atrocity of a cartoon that got shelled out a few years ago shocked Poor Poohbear...


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154788 09/20/13 09:50 PM
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Re: Are we conformists?
Forrest Halford #2154816 09/20/13 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by woodog
Just remember that when someone says you are one in a million, this means there are 7,000 people on this earth exactly like you.

Forrest


You know I've also wondered if they don't look exactly like you too. Maybe in the future when everyone's picture is online, with face recognition software you can find 7,000 people on Earth that look just like you and maybe even a dozen of them that also have your name.

Just a thought.

Piano playing sure is fun!


Danzas Argentinas, Alberto Ginastera
Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 34 in E Minor, Franz Joseph Haydn
Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major, Frédéric Chopin
Prelude, Op. 11 No. 4 in E Minor, Alexander Scriabin
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154840 09/21/13 12:12 AM
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I suppose I shall have to go along with what everyone else is saying...


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Are we conformists?
Derulux #2154878 09/21/13 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Derulux
I suppose I shall have to go along with what everyone else is saying...


No, don't!

Assert your individuality! (By order of --- )


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Are we conformists?
Bobpickle #2154888 09/21/13 06:05 AM
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The lemming myth and the lemming reality aren't really that far apart. Especially from the perspective of the dead lemming.


Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154980 09/21/13 10:33 AM
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From Monty Python's Life Of Brian:

Brian: Please, please, please listen! I've got one or two things to say.

Crowd (in unison): Tell us! Tell us both of them!

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!

Crowd: Yes, we're all individuals.

Brian: You're all different!

Crowd: Yes, we're all different.

Man: I'm not.

Crowd: Shhhh.


I'd rather be practicing wink
Kawai K-3, Roland FP-7F
Now: Brahms Op. 118, Bach French Suite #5
Re: Are we conformists?
bennevis #2154985 09/21/13 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis


The experiment involved using 'stooges' (or 'plants') - apparently three were sufficient to convince a 'subject' to conform in many cases. The experiment simply asked the subject to say which of four lines (close together) on a piece of paper were of the same length as the single line which was by itself a few inches away, and purported to test for visual illusions.

The three stooges, one after the other, picked out the same (obviously wrong) line, then the subject had to decide whether to go with his own conviction or 'follow the crowd'. Amazingly, when the test was conducted in the 1950s, around 75% of subjects chose to follow the crowd.


On youtube I found video of a re-staging of that experiment, apparently from the 1970s. One test subject did initially pick the answer he felt to be correct, despite all the others choosing the wrong answer. On subsequent questions, he decided to go along with the others.

It's interesting 'cause I had wondered, why in the world would anyone pick an answer that was obviously, visually wrong. But watching this one guy, and seeing him there with the others, you could actually sense the weight of nonconformity that began to build up by the second round of questions. It was almost like he decided, Oh screw it, it's just a stupid line, it's not worth going against the crowd. And I hadn't realized the growing pressure of sticking with a dissenting view... people looking at you like you're weird, until finally you relent and go along.

I've had things like that in my life too, where something did not seem worth dissenting about, and so I didn't dissent, although I didn't agree. It seemed like too small a matter to have to withstand the weight of all the questions or surprise of others. But then I wonder, at what point does a matter become worth dissenting about.

Re: Are we conformists?
cefinow #2154995 09/21/13 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cefinow
...... it's just a stupid line, it's not worth going against the crowd. And I hadn't realized the growing pressure of sticking with a dissenting view... people looking at you like you're weird, until finally you relent and go along.

I've had things like that in my life too, where something did not seem worth dissenting about, and so I didn't dissent, although I didn't agree. It seemed like too small a matter to have to withstand the weight of all the questions or surprise of others. But then I wonder, at what point does a matter become worth dissenting about.


World events have been shaped by human conformity.....including mass atrocities.

I remember another experiment, where a subject was taken to a room with several others, to do a paper 'exam'. They were told not to get up from their seats at their desks until the 'adjudicator' returned in half an hour's time. All the others in the room were 'plants'. Smoke was wafted in beneath the door. The subject looked around, but everyone else appeared not to notice. After a few more minutes, he eventually asked if anybody smelt smoke, but everyone shook their heads and went on with their 'exam'. By the time the subject decided to get up, regardless, and leave the room, it was already full of smoke....

If there had been a real fire, he would have had no hope of escape. And when several people were tested in this way, most of them conformed, and didn't leave until the room was full of smoke.

Conformity with the crowd has been cited as the reason for why so few people escaped from some accidents that involved large numbers of passengers.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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