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Avoiding the Peer Pressure Trap

             Peer pressure can happen in many different ways and in many different situations. By definition, peer pressure is pressure from one's peers to behave in a manner similar or acceptable to them. You are surrounded by your peers everyday, so therefore it can happen to you. Here are the facts of peer pressure and how you can avoid being pressured. In my research, I found out that peer pressure happens out in the real business world too. Before the launch of Challenger in 1986, NASA became concerned that the temperature was only in the 30's and that may effect the launch. The lowest previous temperature that a shuttle had been launched at was 53. NASA asked for the opinion of a couple engineers from Morton Thiokol, a company that makes rockets. The engineers came to the conclusion that it was not safe to launch in the cold weather. NASA managers found this out and claimed that Thiokol was setting new launch criteria. Thiokol executives met with the engineers and overruled their decision, approving the Challenger for launch. The Challenger exploded shortly after its launch, and it was a disastrous decision. The accident could have been avoided if NASA had not put pressure on Thiokol to overrule their decision. Peer pressure happens in big businesses too, and in this instance, giving into the pressure led to a significantly worse consequence. .
             Another fact that I found out about peer pressure is that a lot of people do give in. A teacher did an experiment where he made groups of 7 college students. He gave each group a multiple-choice question with an obvious right answer. However, he told 6 of the 7 students to purposely pick the same wrong answer. He wanted to see if the last student would stay independent, or follow the rest of the group. The teacher tried this experiment 31 times. The results were; only 20% stayed independent and answered the question correctly, and 80% were influenced by the group and answered the question wrong! That shows that a lot of people will give in to the group.

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