Asch, Solomon E. (Solomon Elliott), 1907-1996

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1907-09-14
Death 1996-02-20
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Solomon Asch was a world-renowned Gestalt psychologist and pioneer in social psychology. He was born in Warsaw, Poland and emigrated to the United States in 1920. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the College of the City of New York in 1928. Asch received both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1930 and 1932, respectively. He had been a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College for 19 years, working with psychologists including Wolfgang Kohler. Asch also taught at Brooklyn College, the New School for Social Research, and held visiting posts at Harvard and MIT. He was a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and director of the Institute for Cognitive Studies at Rutgers University from 1966-1972, when he joined the University of Pennsylvania. Asch received many awards and distinctions during his career, as well as serving in varied capacities for professional organizations. Asch served as associate editor for the journal Psychological Review from the years 1957 to 1962. Asch became famous in the 1950s for his experiments which demonstrated the power of conformity in groups. Asch's most famous experiments set a contest between actual physical reality and perceived social reality.

Asch died on February 20, 1996 at the age of 89.

In 1998 the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict was created to advance research, education and practice, and policy-relevant study in ethnic group conflict and political violence. The Center originated at the University of Pennsylvania, but now resides at Bryn-Mawr College.

From the guide to the Asch Center collection of Solomon Asch materials, 1955-1992, (Center for the History of Psychology)

Solomon Asch was born September 14, 1907 in Warsaw Poland. In 1920 his family immigrated to the United States. Asch went on to earn a BS from City College of New York in 1928 and went on to receive his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1932. Upon graduation, Asch began his academic career at Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research. His teaching at the New School brought him into contact with Gestalt psychologist, Max Wertheimer. This contact would influence Asch toward the school of Gestalt psychology and influence his subsequent work. Asch went on to Swarthmore College, where he taught for 19 years.

Asch went on to work for the institute for Cognitive Studies at Rutgers in 1966 before finishing his career at the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1972. Asch retired in 1979 and became an emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Asch is most notable for his research on social pressure and persuasion. This research was publish in 1955's Opinions and Social Pressue. In 1952, Asch put together his findings from years of research in the field and wrote his text Social Psychology. Columbia University awarded him the Nicholas Murray Butler award in 1962. In 1967 the American Psychological Association granted Asch the Distinguished Contribution Award.

Asch passed away on February 20, 1996.

From the guide to the Solomon Asch papers, 1947-1995, (Center for the History of Psychology)

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Subjects:

  • Psychology--History
  • Psychology
  • Psychologists--United States
  • History of psychology
  • Psychologists
  • Mental health
  • Social psychology
  • Psychology--History--20th century
  • Conformity
  • Psychologist, American
  • Solomon Asch Award

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