Groupthink And The Elevator Experiment

Want to see how people will change to fit in? In 1962, groundbreaking social psychologist Solomon Asch teamed up with the television show Candid Camera to demonstrate how quickly a basic social norm (how people stand in an elevator) could be reversed using group conformity. Just imagine all the behaviors and beliefs you could get tricked into following, via the power of social pressure. (The elevator experiment was still effective when replicated in the present day on the University of South Florida campus.)

18 Comments on "Groupthink And The Elevator Experiment"

  1. the elites figured this out a long time ago
    but the beginning of the last century they refined the techniques

    @ 00:30 Funt says “he tries to maintain his individuality”
    good luck folks
    98% of Amerika is staring at the back of the elevator
    if you don’t stare at the back of the elevator
    you’re a traitor, commie, Al Kindavague terrorist supporter

    it’s really hard to free
    when your keepers use your human nature as a weapon against you

  2. Clearly some form of devilry was involved! The entire building should have been razed.

  3. Ahhh, USF library.

    I’ve pulled a co-ed or two out of there.

    I can assure you that standing facing backwards in that elevator is not the wildest thing that goes on…

    • MoralDrift | Jun 16, 2012 at 1:34 am |

      USF alum? no fucking way?!

      • Sorry to disappoint.

        University of Tampa.

        You guys had a decent library.

        • MoralDrift | Jun 16, 2012 at 6:56 am |

          yeah we did, but UT had an interesting look. USF was dull 1950’s era construction and now it is 2000’s era blandness. The best part was the Library and the Sundome 

  4. On trash day, before setting my bag out at the curb, I always scan my street for blue bags placed at the curb by my neighbors. If I do not see any of my neighbor’s blue bags out, my blue bag stays in. Once in a while I wrongly repeat one or more of my neighbors action by setting out my blue bag, only to later realize it went out a day early due to the pickup date being shifted a day later after a national holiday. That’s why group think can be hazardous, as mediocre practices, mistaken thinking and other logical fallacies get repeated and amplified.

    As seen in the video, TPTB know you must boil a frog slowly. So they start out by conditioning the sheeple to face the rear of the elevator several times until it is considered the norm. Later they condition them to face the rear of the elevator with both hands on their head, followed even later by facing the rear of the elevator with both hands on their head and one leg lifted. They know that as long as the frog doesn’t jump out of the pan, they can continue to slowly turn up the heat.

    • I’ve seen this happen at cross walks as well. One person decides to jay walk and a person behind them follows and is surprised when they realize they didn’t have right of way.

      •  i’ve done this at cross walks myself… but because i wasn’t paying attention… don’t think it’s group think.  i knew to expect to walk when others walked…

  5. Jojofisher | Jun 16, 2012 at 8:14 am |

    I would like to see this experiment duplicated in all other countries.

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  7. Lol, it looks like the absurdity of their actions may actually be generating a sort of hyper-conformity. Having caved the firs time, the last guy has to keep on doing it rather than admit to himself that he did something pointless the first time.

    • “it looks like the absurdity of their actions may actually be generating a sort of hyper-conformity. ”

      I was thinking something similar to this.

      Safety and survival in the moment is better ensured by conforming with
      the crowd until the reason for their unexplained behavior can be understood.

      For example, whether or not you know why “the crowd” is moving,  you’re safer moving with them for 2 reasons.

      1. There may be an actual threat they are moving away from.
      2. You’ll get trample if you’re the only person standing still.

      Only after you’ve eliminated the instant threat to your well-being do you have the luxury of deciding that the best course of action is work your way to the side of the crowd, use the fire exit, and catch The Who the next time they’re in town.

  8. SuperSerial | Jun 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    USF Alum representing 

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  10. Already knew this but great video.  It always amazes me to see it in action.

  11. This is ridiculous. I have never seen people in elevators
    tending to face all in the same direction. If anything, people have a tendency
    to stand so that they are facing each other.

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