Peer pressure can be applied in countless other contexts as well. By announcing on the first day of class that only 40% of the students will pass the course, the professor generates a self-perpetuating network of interlocking peer pressures, primarily through the suspicions and backstabbings of healthy competition. By keying a pop quiz to a single student's failure to produce satisfactory answers to oral questions, the professor redirects any vestigial student anger away from him/herself and toward the student in question, and creates an atmosphere in which students will drive each other to do the reading and prepare for class discussion, lest the entire class be "penalized" (testing as punishment) for the ignorance of one. It is fortunate that by the university level students have been well-trained in peer pressure, and will automatically disseminate professorial power throughout the group at the slightest hint from the professor.
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Copyright 1992 Bill Kaul and the peerless Doug Robinson