“People underestimate the power of the situation to influence and shape their behavior. We all like to think that we are masters of our own ships, that we possess free will, and that we behave in certain ways because we intend to behave that way. And in many cases, we are in control. Yet, very often, aspects of the situation create a far more powerful influence on our actions.
One example comes from research on social conformity. When you drive down the highway, and notice that the drivers in front of you are all shifting lanes to the right, do you follow suit? Do you move, with the crowd, to the right? Most likely, the answer is yes. Why do you do it? In the absence of other information, you assume that the other drivers know something or see something that you don’t know or didn’t see. You conform to their actions. In most situations, conformity is probably a good thing. Yet, it can lead you astray. In the classic research on conformity, Solomon Asch found that people often follow the incorrect lead of others even when the truth is as plain as can be.” (Breckler, 2004)
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