Why Do We Try so Hard to Be Like Other People and Conform? - Deepstash
Social Psychology: Conformity

People are socially influenced by others, and change their behaviours in order to get along or fit in with the people around them. This involves agreeing with the majority, acting like everyone in a group, or behaving in a certain way to appear normal or ‘with it’ by the peers.

Conformity is basically yielding to group pressure, like when you go to watch a movie with office colleagues and do not like it at all, but may conform to the group by pretending to like it.

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Most of us conform to the expectations of the group to avoid being the ‘odd one out’ or just to not appear foolish.

In many cases we don’t even know what the expectation is, so conforming to what everyone else is doing appears a safe bet.

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  • Informational influence is when we are unsure of a correct response, and look to imitate others who we presume are better informed
  • Normative Influence is when we avoid a penalty or look for a reward by behaving in a certain way or agreeing to the rules of a group.
  • Identification conformity is when we behave in a certain way due to our social or professional identity.
  • Compliance conformity happens when we change our behaviour externally while internally disagreeing with our peers.
  • Internalization conformity is when we imitate a person because we want to be like them.

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Many group experiments highlight that simple questions involving dots and lines are answered correctly when asked individually, but when asked in a group, the answer moves towards a median, as many people simply conform to the answer of other people (who may be wrong).

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Many factors influence conformity in individuals, like the difficulty of a certain task, the motivation to achieve or the size of a group.

  • People who have strong leadership abilities do not conform easily.
  • People are more likely to conform where the response they should take is vague.
  • People from the same culture are highly likely to conform to each other.

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