Editor’s note: Here is another article by our friend, Ruricolus.
I thought this was interesting and relevant to today’s COVID propaganda. A researcher in the 1950s wanted to study conformity, so he told test subjects they were taking a vision test, but the test had an obvious correct answer for each round. He paired each test subject up with 7 ringers, who were told to select a certain wrong answer as a group on 2/3rds of the tests. The test subject answered last after all the others had answered out loud.
On average, each time 1/3rd of the test subjects selected the same wrong answer as the ringers. 3/4ths of them answered wrong at least once, and 1/4th always went against the group and selected the right answer. That parallels what we see today, with about 1/3rd of the population (the true NPCs) that believes whatever they’re told everyone else believes. Most people are in the 3/4ths who can’t believe the official narrative is always wrong, so they go along with it sometimes. And 1/4th are able to reject the official narrative every time that they think it’s wrong. As a practical matter, that means the media decides what the first 1/3rd believes, so if you don’t control the media, you’re starting in a hole and need to win over 2/3rds of the non-NPCs just to break even in any kind of fair vote. Takeaway: if you gain the power to do it, bring the media to heel, whatever it takes.
Some side points of interest:
The test subjects were male college students. I assume a female sample would show even higher conformity.
This was in the 1950s when social conformity was high in general. Studies in later decades showed lower conformity, but they also tended to do the test differently. One in the 70s that selected only male students in hard subjects (at the time) like engineering and chemistry found very low conformity around 3%. I suspect if they did it with today’s affirmative action STEM students it would be far higher.
Having one of the ringers select the correct answer lowered conformity by 80%. So having an “ally” against the crowd made a big difference, even when still outnumbered by the crowd. I’ve seen that with masks: when one person simply doesn’t wear a mask, other people around him will start to let theirs slip down to their chin or take it off altogether. As long as they feel alone, they won’t buck the crowd; but give them one ally, even an implied one, and they feel differently.