Summary: This clip from a 1962 episode of Candid Camera is based on a series of social psychological experiments called the Asch conformity experiments. Originally directed by Solomon Asch in the 1950s, these experiments were designed to examine how individuals conform to group dynamics. In this episode, unsuspecting subjects enter into an elevator where Candid Camera actors are all facing backwards, and we watch as a hidden camera captures the non-actor individuals slowly turning around to conform with the group. Sociologist Harold Garfinkel used a similar method to explore various dimensions of social rules and sanctions. Specifically, he used breaching experiments as a method to demonstrate the presence of social norms, arguing that we can test the existence of social norms and expectations by violating them. This clip would be useful for introducing Garfinkel's famous breaching experiments, and would pair well with assignments that require students to conduct their very own breaching experiment, such as this assignment on The Sociological Cinema.
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp