Behaviour = stimulus in the Environment (B=E). This is the Pavlov, B.F. Skinner theory
Asch’s Conformity Experiment
Study on visual perception. People were into groups of 7-9. Showed them each a com-
parison line and asked them which lined up with the exhibited one. There was only 1
real subject (naive subject) in the room among the scripted actors. The subject was told
to respond last after listening to all the answers. The actors started giving incorrect an-
swers. The point was to see how the naive subject would answer...go with his senses or
follow the crowd. A little more than a third of time he would respond incorrectly even
when the answer was obviously wrong.
When tested individually, they were incorrect less than 1% of the time. It is clear that be-
ing in a crowd influences behaviour.
It’s very hard to disagree or dissent when everyone around you is doing something dif-
Darley & Latane’s Smoke-Filled Room Experiment
You assume someone else will take the initiative to act so you don’t do anything.
“Group-situation” effect. Even stronger when other by-standers aren’t acting either.
Smoke started to fill the vent in the waiting room. For individuals in the room by them
self, 75% got up within 4 mins. 1 in 10 got up in the room with the confederates (actors)
and 33% got up when they were in the room with other people doing the study (also fill-
ing out forms).
Philosophical Question: When an epistemic peer disagrees with you, are you therefore rationally required to low-
er your confidence in your belief?
(Are you under any rational obligation to lower your confidence...or is the rational thing
to do is to follow your own beliefs?)
Two Views on Disagreement