Solomon Asch

solomon-asch

Source: photobucket. Web 22 Oct. 2014.

 

Solomon Asch was born in Warsaw, but emigrated to the United States in 1920 at the age of 13. His family lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and he learned English by reading the works of Charles Dickens. Asch attended the College of the City of New York and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1928. He then went to Columbia University, where he was mentored by Max Wertheimer and earned his master’s degree in 1930 and his Ph.D. in 1932.

During the early years of World War II when Hitler was at the height of power, Solomon Asch began studying the impact of propaganda and indoctrination while he was a professor at Brooklyn College’s psychology department. He also served as a professor for 19 years at Swarthmore College, where he worked with renowned Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Köhler. Throughout his academic career, he taught at Brooklyn College, the New School for Social Research, and Swarthmore College, and held visiting posts at Harvard and MIT.
During the 1950s, Asch became famous for his series of experiments (known as the Asch conformity experiments) that demonstrated the effects of social pressure on conformity. From 1966 to 1972, Asch held the title of director and distinguished professor of psychology at the Institute for Cognitive Studies at Rutgers University.

Contributions to Psychology:
Solomon Asch is considered a pioneer of social psychology and Gestalt psychology. His conformity experiments demonstrated the power of social influence and still serve as a source of inspiration for social psychology researchers today. Asch also supervised Stanley Milgram’s Ph.D. at Harvard University and inspired Milgram’s own highly influential research on obedience. While Asch’s work illustrated how peer pressure influences social behavior (often in negative ways), Asch believed that people tend to behave decently towards each other.

Source: psychology.about.com, Web. 22 Oct 2014.

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