W5: Social Pressure & Mindfulness

Individualism & Social Proof

Individualism is important for creativity. However, it is difficult to maintain individualism when working in a group. In that sense, the experiment that was conducted to one participant to show a standard line and ask to choose the line with the same length (the image below) in the circumstance that the others respond differently from him is very well known in terms of demonstrating ‘social proof’.

The video below is another experiment of social pressure. (I personally think this is much funnier than the previous experiment)

There must be several reasons that we cannot express individualism. One of them might be our tendency to avoid conflicts or embarrassment. Also, it might affect our thoughts that we might be wrong since the majority are different from me. Then how can we avoid the urge to conform? There are several ways that we discussed during the class.

  • Assert your personal authority
  • Take full responsibility for your actions
  • Resist going on automatic pilot
  • Be mindful of situational demands on you
  • Engage your critical thinking skills
  • Be willing to admit an error

Brainstorming & Mindfulness

Social proof can deter effective brainstorming as well as effective decision making. Then how can we enhance the effectiveness of decision making in groups? The followings are some tips:

  • Encourage or appoint a devil’s advocate
  • Inclusive decision-making sessions
  • Sometimes utilize anonymity or blind reviews
  • Don’t let one people talk all the time
  • Value dissent

Group Project

For the next half of the class, Our group continued our project which is redesigning the Johns Hopkins hospital entrance. We individually conducted observation and listed relevant insights and linked them with the rose, bud, and thorn.




Design Leadership by Sharon Kim
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School


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