Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 82
Conformity/Le Bon: Gustave Le Bon had argued half a century earlier than Asch’s studies (Asch 1951(1), 1955(2)) [these studies] appear to show that, in a group or crowd, the individual is unable to resist peer pressure and becomes a slave to the will of the collective. In Le Bon’s words: ‘An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will’ (1895(3), p. 13).


1. Asch, S.E. (1951) ‘Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgment’, in H. Guetzkow (ed.), Groups, Leadership and Men. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Press. pp. 177–90.
2. Asch, S.E. (1955) ‘Opinions and social pressure’, Scientific American, 193: 31–5.
3. Le Bon, G. (1895) La Psychologie des foules (The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, 1982, Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing Company).


Matthew J. Hornsey and Jolanda Jetten, “Conformity. Revisiting Asch’s line-judgment studies”, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Le Bon, Gustave
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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