In a famous experiment from the 1950s, social psychologist Solomon Asch demonstrated the influence a group exerts on our opinions and judgments.
In this experiment, subjects would agree with the answer of the group despite the evidence of their own eyes that the majority’s answer was the wrong one. It showed how readily people will deny what they see and submit to the majority view, and how hard it is for one person to stand strong against the convictions of the many. This holds implications for business meetings, political processes, jury deliberation, or even negotiation.
For two videos that chillingly depict the force of group opinion — one a contemporary replication of Asch’s experiment — see “Individual Conformity to (Incorrect) Group Consensus” at Sociological Images.
Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property issues, and serves on numerous mediation panels, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Training and coaching are an enduring passion -- she has taught thousands of people to resolve conflict, negotiate better, or become mediators -- from Croatian judges to Fortune 500 executives.
A geek at heart, Levin consults on web design and social media to professionals. She blogs about ADR at the intersection of law, science, and popular culture at the award-winning MediationChannel.com, regarded as one of the world's top ADR blogs. She also tracks and catalogues ADR blogs world-wide at ADRblogs.com, where she has created a community for bloggers writing about constructive ways to resolve disputes.
web site: http://dianelevin.com