A Nonconformist Account of the Asch Experiments: Values, Pragmatics, and Moral Dilemmas

  title={A Nonconformist Account of the Asch Experiments: Values, Pragmatics, and Moral Dilemmas},
  author={Bert H. Hodges and Anne L. Geyer},
  journal={Personality and Social Psychology Review},
  pages={19 - 2}
This article offers a new approach to Asch's (1956) influential studies relating physical and social perception. Drawing on research on values, conversational pragmatics, cross-cultural comparisons, and negotiation, the authors challenge the normative assumptions that have led psychologists to interpret the studies in terms of conformity. A values-pragmatics account is offered that suggests that participants attempt to realize multiple values (e.g., truth, social solidarity) in an inherently… Expand

Tables and Topics from this paper

Situated Social Identities Constrain Morally Defensible Choices: Commentary on Bennis, Medin, & Bartels (2010)
  • P. Tetlock, G. Mitchell
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2010
It is argued that the overriding goal of most decision makers in the paradigms under scrutiny is to offer judgments that are readily defensible and that reinforce their social identities as both cognitively flexible and morally principled. Expand
Values, Personal Identity, and the Moral Self
This chapter outlines a theoretical backdrop for incorporating research on human values into the study of the self. The chapter takes a sociological, interactional perspective suggesting thatExpand
Ambiguous Allure: The Valuepragmatics Model of Ethical Decision Making
Research in organizational ethics emphasizes those dispositional factors that are expected to foster positive ethical behavior. We seek to contribute to this literature by including personal valuesExpand
Rethinking conformity and imitation: divergence, convergence, and social understanding
The hypothesis that social understanding cannot be reduced to convergence or divergence, but includes ongoing activities that seek greater comprehensiveness and complexity in the ability to act and interact effectively, appropriately, and with integrity is supported. Expand
A problem for natural scientific accounts, psychology in particular, is the existence of value. An ecological account of values is reviewed and illustrated in three domains of research: carryingExpand
On Being Both With Us and Against Us: A Normative Conflict Model of Dissent in Social Groups
  • D. Packer
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2008
A normative conflict model is proposed, which distinguishes between nonconformity due to dissent (challenging norms to change them) and nonconforming due to disengagement (distancing oneself from the group), and is linked to contemporary perspectives on collective identity. Expand
Much of the research in social psychology has focused on conformity. Often conformity is a necessary tool which helps our society to function but when people conform to something dangerous or immoralExpand
Tough Love: The Normative Conflict Model and a Goal System Approach to Dissent Decisions
Most rebels have a cause, and the expression of internal criticism and dissent is vital for healthy civic and collective functioning. Here, we review the normative conflict model (NCM), which positsExpand
Values Define Fields: The Intentional Dynamics of Driving, Carrying, Leading, Negotiating, and Conversing
What is the relation between ecological, social, and cognitive psychology? The thesis described and illustrated in this article is that a psychology of values (e.g., Hodges & Baron, 1992) providesExpand
Testing the Value-Pragmatics Hypothesis in Unethical Compliance
We test conformity-related values applying the value-pragmatics hypothesis by evaluating how personal values related to compliance moderate the relationships between situational factors and unethicalExpand


The Legacy of Solomon Asch : essays in cognition and social psychology
Contents: Biography. J. Ceraso, H. Gruber, I. Rock, Social Psychology.On Solomon Asch. R. Brown, Politeness Theory: Exemplar and Exemplary. D. T. Campbell, Asch's Moral Epistemology for SociallyExpand
Social functionalist frameworks for judgment and choice: intuitive politicians, theologians, and prosecutors.
This article identifies 3 alternative social functionalist starting points for inquiry: people as pragmatic politicians trying to cope with accountability demands from key constituencies in their lives, principled theologians trying to protect sacred values from secular encroachments, and prudent prosecutors trying to enforce social norms. Expand
A puzzling misinterpretation of the Asch ‘conformity’ study
In this article, we examine the interpretations by social psychologists of Asch's widely cited study of independence and conformity. Though it has become known as the ‘Asch Conformity Study’, AschExpand
Solomon Asch's Legacy for Group Research
  • J. Levine
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 1999
4 of Asch's ideas are examined that have proven to be particularly influential in later efforts to understand social influence in groups: social interaction depends on individuals' ability to represent others' positions, define themselves as members of the same group, and regulate their behavior in terms of the norms and values of the group. Expand
Some current issues in the psychology of conformity and nonconformity.
Abstract : The report covers some current issues central to the conception and study of conformity as an influence process. It urges a rectification of the imbalance created by an emphasis onExpand
Moral hypocrisy: addressing some alternatives.
No support was found for the idea that low salience of social standards accounts for falsifying the result of a coin flip to assign oneself a more desirable task after flipping the coin, and results of both studies provided additional evidence of moral hypocrisy. Expand
Independence or conformity in the Asch experiment as a reflection of cultural and situational factors
It is argued that the classic Asch studies of conformity may not be universal but rather reflect the historical and cultural state of the USA in the 1950s. In particular, contemporary British studentExpand
Expanding the Scope of the Social Response Context Model
Descriptive models of social response are concerned with identifying and discriminating between different types of response to social influence. In a previous article (Nail, MacDonald, & Levy, 2000),Expand
Asch and the balance of values
Values will be central to developing a more balanced social psychology. A nonconformist account of Asch's (1956) experiments is used to illustrate the role of multiple values and to support andExpand
Towards a balanced social psychology: Causes, consequences, and cures for the problem-seeking approach to social behavior and cognition
A more balanced social psychology would yield not only a more positive view of human nature, but also an improved understanding of the bases of good behavior and accurate judgment, coherent explanations of occasional lapses, and theoretically grounded suggestions for improvement. Expand