Conform to the social norm: why people follow what other people do - Deepstash
Conform to the social norm: why people follow what other people do

Conform to the social norm: why people follow what other people do

Curated from:

Ideas, facts & insights covering these topics:

5 ideas


2.64K reads


Explore the World's Best Ideas

Join today and uncover 100+ curated journeys from 50+ topics. Unlock access to our mobile app with extensive features.

Social norms

People tend to conform to behaviors that are common among other people, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not mirror their own desires. 


735 reads

Common reasons for conforming

  • One common explanation: we that if everyone else is choosing to do one thing, it is probably a good thing to do.
  • Another common explanation: we fear that failing to follow a norm may have negative social consequences.


491 reads

The self-categorization theory

The idea of the self-categorization theory is that people conform to the norms of certain social groups whenever they have a personal desire to feel like they belong.

It is irrelevant whether a norm reflects people's preference, as long as the behavior is associated with the group.


466 reads

The cascade effect

We follow arbitrary norms that offer no rational reason for us to conform to them. The norms can snowball when we are influenced by people's earlier decisions.

For instance, if we see a packed restaurant next to an empty one, we assume the packed restaurant must be better. It is possible that an initial arbitrary decision by some early restaurant-goers cascaded into one restaurant being popular and the other one not.


442 reads

Conforming to good behavior

Increasingly, social norms are being used to encourage pro-social behavior. They have been successfully used to encourage:

  • Healthy eating
  • Increase attendance at doctor appointments
  • To reduce tax evasion
  • To increase towel reuse at hotels
  • To decrease long-term energy use
  • To increase organ donor registrations.


509 reads



Whenever I have a problem I just sing, then I realize my voice is worse than my problem

Christopher C.'s ideas are part of this journey:

Joining A New Team

Learn more about personaldevelopment with this collection

How to establish a positive team culture

How to collaborate effectively

How to build trust with a new team

Related collections

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Personalized microlearning

100+ Learning Journeys

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.


I agree to receive email updates