The Asch conformity experiments, which are possibly the most famous social-psychology tests ever conducted, demonstrated with brilliant clarity such conformity even in small group settings.
If you are not familiar with the Asch conformity experiments by the way then I will quickly summarise. A volunteer is told that the test that he has volunteered to take part in is going to be a test of visual perception before sitting at a table with 5 or 6 other participants.
What he does not realise is that all the other ‘participants’ at the table are all actors who are all going to volunteer the exact same incorrect answer to some of the tests and that he is the only participant that is being tested for real. The real test is not about his visual perception, it’s about his level of conformity.
He is the only one who has a choice. He must either go against the group and give the correct answer to a visual test that was deliberately designed to be very, very easy to give the correct answer to (like the length of a straight line), or he must go with the group and give the same obviously incorrect answer.
On greater than 30% of the trials, the only real participant conformed with the majority and a massive 75% of participants conformed at least once during the experiment.
When asked afterwards why they confirmed they said it was either because they thought the majority must be right and did not even believe what was literally right in front of their eyes (informational conformity) or they conformed to avoid the discomfort of being thought as wrong and deviant by the rest of the group (normative conformity).
If the footage below looks dated, that’s because it is, however the Asch conformity experiments have been repeated many, many times since and have yielded consistently proven results.
If conformity is this easy to achieve with a just small amount of people speaking against an obvious and easily visible truth, then just think how much easier it is to achieve mass conformity when most of the world is speaking against you about a truth that is far less simple and far less obvious to understand like how sexual relationships should work.
Group dynamics and the need to fit in one of the single most powerful forces in human psychology and is something that developed for very good reason during the Sex 1.0 phase of human evolution which you will read about in the chapters to come.
Now you can start to understand how relationship duress and group conformity combined can take already very badly corrupted maps that people are carrying around and can spread the problem by replicating the corruption and the mapping mistakes and by obligating all others in society into accepting them.
This is how the mapping errors spread like an unstoppable self-replicating virus.
This is exactly why relationships seem difficult.
(to be continued …)