Day 319: Up and Down

My son showed me a video tonight that documented a social experiment related to everyone following suit, for no known reason. Here’s how it went:

A “victim” went into a doctor’s office full of “patients” who were all in on the experiment. Soon, a beep sounded, and all the “patients” stood up and sat back down. After several rounds of everyone standing up at the beep and sitting again, the “victim” decided she had better stand up and sit back down with the group. She didn’t ask why they were doing it, and she didn’t know why she was doing it, but she kept it up, even as one-by-one, all the “patients” got called out of the waiting room.

Even with the waiting room empty of all the “patients,” the victim continued standing up and sitting down. All by herself. Without knowing why.

Next, other “victims” came into the waiting room, and they joined this original “victim” with the process of standing up and sitting down. One asked her why, but she only said that it was what everyone else was doing. Down to the last “victim” who took longer to participate, but even he eventually gave in to the peer pressure of standing up and sitting down at the beep.

Frankly, I was surprised that the girl kept up the experiment when she was alone. I figured I might give in to the peer pressure after a while, but I thought I wouldn’t keep it up when I was alone. But I’m truly not sure. I mean, if everyone else is looking at their phones, how often do I pull out my phone to start looking at something, anything, too. There’s a powerful pull that sucks you in. I can resist, but it’s hard. And this social experiment reminded me of why. The pull to be accepted is most often stronger than knowledge or will, and sometimes, even determination.

DAY 319 HOMEWORK: Examine your own behaviors. Are you aware of when you get sucked in to behaving like those around you? Maybe you need to be the opposite of the majority, and start a pull toward nonconformity. See how many join you in being like no one else. After all, we are unique, so we should stop behaving like we aren’t.





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