Peer Pressure Teen Drinking


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Imitation plays a large role in children's lives; in order to pick up skills and techniques that they use in their own life, children are always searching for behaviours and attitudes around them that they can co-opt. Children are aware of their position in the social hierarchy from a young age: their instinct is to defer to adults' judgements and majority opinions. Similar to the Asch conformity experiments, a study done on groups of preschool children showed that they were influenced by groups of their peers to change their opinion to a demonstrably wrong one. Each child was handed a book with two sets of images on each page, with a groups of differently sized animals on the left hand page and one animal on the right hand, and each child was asked to indicate the size of the lone animal. All the books appeared the same, but the last child would sometimes get a book that was different. The children reported their size judgements in turn, and the child being tested was asked last. Before him or her, however, were a group of children working in conjunction with the researchers. Sometimes, the children who answered before the test subject all gave an answer that was incorrect. When asked in the presence of the other children, the last child's response was often the same as his or her peers. However, when allowed to privately share their responses with a researcher the children proved much more resistant to their peers' pressure, illustrating the importance of the physical presence of their peers in shaping their opinions.