Conformity in Academics

My first mistake in college of submitting to conformity had nothing to do with alcohol or drugs.  I was completing my biology problem set and I was so sure all my answers were right. I had studied countless hours and went through every problem carefully. Since we’re allowed to check our answers with our classmates, I met with some friends from my Bio13 class and we went through the answers together. Of course, since everyone had different answers than I did, I suddenly questioned my knowledge and changed a few answers to match theirs. I did not lack confidence in my studying. I saw my friends as a valuable source of information since they all had the same answers. Because the task was highly important to me as it has a large effect on my grade, informational social influence had a much stronger effect on me. If the task were ungraded, I most likely would have stuck to my original answers. Once I submitted the problem set, I saw that I received a 70% and when I went back to check my answers, I saw that my original responses were actually correct. Also, the fact that it was my first problem set ever for Bio13 made me more susceptible to informational social influence because the situation was more ambiguous; I was more unsure of myself which made me vulnerable. I also had a false idea that since Tufts students are really smart that they must be right and I must be wrong. This made me even more receptive to informational social influence because I blindly followed their lead in choosing the wrong answers. If I was aware of the powerful effects of informational social influence, I most likely would have questioned their answers further before choosing to change my own to match theirs. Now that I know its effects, next time I will trust my answers first and debate with my classmates over the right answer.

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