A Call to Conformity: Alexander Robbins Essays

A Call to Conformity: Alexander Robbins Essays

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As a child you are always told to not give into peer pressure via programs such as DARE or DFYIT that instruct us to not only stand up to peer pressure, but they also tell us to not shun or bully others. This is a problem for the human brain because as
author Alexander Robbins states: “From the age of five children increasingly exclude peers who don’t conform to group norms. Children learn this quickly. A popular Indiana eighth grader told me ‘I have to be the same as everybody else, or people won’t like me anymore’” (150). The human brain is wired such that children will end friendships with kids that they find different. Robbins finds this behavior to be undesirable saying that it is not only unappealing, but it is a cop-out. In agreement with Robbins, parents across the world, organizations, and teen movies tell society that conformity is bad and that children should not conform to the group, rather they should stand alone and be individuals. However, Solomon Asch’s study may have discovered why this is. He concluded that: “The investigations described in this series are concerned with the independence and lack of independence in the face of group pressure” (1). Asch determines that in the face of pressure people are more apt to conform.
While society preaches the negatives of conformity, science has proven that the brain is hard-wired to follow the group. Asch was the pioneering researcher in this discovery. The following experiment and its ensuing results stunned everyone. Asch’s experiment stated:
He brought in college students, one by one, into a room with six to eight other participants. He showed the room a picture of one line and a separate picture containing three lines labeled 1, 2, and 3. One of the three lines was ...

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...er a choice their brain makes for them. As Berns states: “ In many people, the brain would rather avoid activating the fear system and just change perception to conform with the social norm” (Robbins 152).

Works Cited

Asch, Solomon E. "Studies of Independence and Conformity: I. A Minority of One against a Unanimous Majority." Psychological Monographs: General and Applied 70.9 (1956): 1. Print.
Klucharev, Vasily, Kaisa Hytönen, Mark Rijpkema, Ale Smidts, and Guillén Fernández. "Reinforcement Learning Signal Predicts Social Conformity." Neuron 61.1 (2009): 140-51. Print.
"People Fear Becoming Authentic and Independent Thinking Individuals-It Is Easier to Conform!" HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.
Robbins, Alexandra. The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive after High School. New York: Hyperion, 2011. Print.

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