In a 1951 experiment, social psychologist Solomon Asch placed each of 50 college students in a room with 6 to 8 confederates and showed them two cards like the ones above. Which line on the second card is the same length as that on the first card? In the first two trials the confederates gave the obviously correct answer, and the subject, who was placed near the end, did also.
But after this point the confederates began to give a clearly wrong answer, and continued to do so for 12 of the 18 trials. Asch found that only 23 percent of the subjects stood up consistently against this social pressure; 4.8 percent agreed with the confederates throughout, and the rest agreed with the incorrect majority in only some trials.
Asch wrote, “That intelligent, well-meaning, young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern.”