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Summary: What do you do when others around you are doing the wrong thing and then they try and get you to go along? Are you ready to stand up and do right, to make the right choice, to know what to say? If you can’t right now you won’t be able to then

Could be an important message for you today.

What do you do when others around you are doing the wrong thing and then they try and get you to go along? Are you ready to stand up and do right, to make the right choice, to know what to say? If you can’t right now you won’t be able to then.

Peer Pressure: When others exert their influence on you to make a decision.

A few years ago psychologist Ruth W. Berenda and her associates carried out an interesting experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group pressure. The plan was simple.

They brought groups of ten adolescents into a room for a test. Subsequently, each group of ten was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one person in the group did not know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for the second-longest line. Regardless of the instructions they heard, once they were all together in the group, the nine were not to vote for the longest line, but rather vote for the next to the longest line. The experiment began with nine teen-agers voting for the wrong line. The stooge would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and slip his hand up with the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time, the self-conscious stooge would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because he lacked the courage to challenge the group.

This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases, and was true of small children and high-school students as well.

The Myths of Peer Pressure

1. It only affects the young. Never stops, ask adults.

2. You will become stronger and immune. Never strong enough to keep it from being tempting. Ask an former alcoholic or drug addict.

3. You will fit in and be popular if you give in. This is perhaps the biggest lie, you will not become more popular but less, and laughed at and looked down on as a stooge for doing what other people lead you into.

4. It can’t be that wrong if everyone else is doing it. We try and justify it because not everyone else can be wrong can they? Yes, especially if you are hanging out with those that are making bad choices or are urging you to.

5. We think we can handle it alone. We try and say I can go there and handle it all by myself. We all need support and strength and there is strength in numbers. When you are outnumbered you can easily fall.

The Facts of Peer Pressure

1. They never think about the actions or consequences. Crowds gather and begin to say, “Hey let’s throw rocks at those cars.” No one tells them no so they do it. Why? Because someone said to. Crowds never logically assess the situation and ask good questions, they only act and try and get everyone to follow. There is something about being in a group that makes us act and think different. I could get you as a group to do things you wouldn’t individually. We think because it is a group activity then it is OK no matter what.


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