Arizona National Park is a protected forest area in the United States. Some visitors to Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park were picking wood from the protected area, disrupting the natural state of the forest. Cialdini and their colleges decided to investigate the messages that could change this behavior, so visitors were exposed to messages that admonished against the theft of petrified wood. In the first stage, participants were informed that ‘‘Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, changing the state of the Petrified Forest’’. This wording was accompanied by pictures of three visitors taking wood. In the second stage, the plea was phrased: ‘‘Please don’t remove the petrified wood from the park’’. This wording was accompanied by a picture of a visitor stealing a piece of wood, with a red circle-and-bar symbol superimposed over his hand. After installing the signs, the researchers placed 20 pieces of petrified wood in designated locations along each of the paths.
Results showed that, when there were no signs, visitors took 92.2% of the pieces. When the first sign was installed, which showed several visitors stealing wood and it`s description was “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, Visitors took 92.7% of the wood. In other words, triple increased probability of stealing! On the other hand, when the second sign was installed, which showed a picture of a visitor stealing a piece of wood, visitors took only 67.1% of the wood, which means 40% reduction of stealing.
The researcher concluded that if people think that most people do the wrong thing, they are more likely to do the same! That is, even when we are convinced it is wrong! “Conformity” enforces us to do that behavior. Thus, constant warnings about rising crime and irresponsibility and lawlessness may lead to the increase of these behaviors, especially in a culture where it is recommended: “go along to get along!”
#Hans_Christine_Anderson The Danish novelist in the sweet story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” tells the story of a people who, although they saw the emperor naked!, in order to not endanger theirs security or belonging, they applauded for the emperor’s brilliant new dress and conformed with others. What Hans Christian Anderson mentions in the form of a story: has been proven by prominent American psychologists “Philip Zimbardo and Solomon Eliot Asch” through extensive research.
Baron, R. A., & Byrne, D. (1987). Social psychology: Understanding human interaction. Allyn & Bacon.
Cialdini, R. B., Demaine, L. J., Sagarin, B. J., Barrett, D. W., Rhoads, K., & Winter, P. L. (2006). Managing social norms for persuasive impact. Social influence, 1(1), 3-15.
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