Conformity is a social influence that, might occasionally mean agreeing with or acting like the majority of a certain group, or it can involve acting in a particular way to appear “normal” to the group. In essence, conformity entails caving into peer pressure.
Why We Comply
People conform, per the researchers, for many different kinds of reasons.1 In many situations, it can be advantageous to look to the other members of the group for guidance on how to act. The advice of others can be helpful because they may have greater expertise than we do.
Sometimes, in order to avoid appearing foolish, we comply to the requirements for the group. When we are not sure about how to react or when the expectations are hazy, this inclination can become powerful.
Informational impact and normative influence were two of the main causes of conformity, according to Deutsch and Gerard in 1955.
When someone modify their behavior to conform to the truth, this is known as informational influence.3 We frequently seek to individuals who are more educated and competent in circumstances where we are doubtful about the exact response, using their example as a guide for our own behaviors. This can entail concurring with the assessments of a fellow student whom you believe to be very brilliant, for instance, in a classroom context.
Normative influence results from an impulse to avoid consequences (like complying with the rules in class even though you disagree with them) and obtain benefits (like acting in a particular way to win over the public’s favor).
Types of Compliance
There are numerous explanations for why humans conform, but two significant types of conformity are ethical and informational influences.
This kind of conformity demands changing one’s conduct to blend in with the group. Teenagers, for instance, could dress in a specific manner in order to resemble their classmates who belong to a specific community.
Conformity with information:
In this instance, conformity entails relying on the group for guidance and information (this happens when a person is ignorant). Imagine enrolling in the first class at a brand-new yoga studio. To determine where you wanted to hang your coat, store your shoes, unfold your mat, and other tasks, you probably observed what your peers were accomplishing.
Identifying Conformity to roles in society is defined as identification. One instance of this conformity is the Stanford Prison Experiment.
Modifying one’s actions while yet internally disapproving of the group is compliance. You might read a book for your book club, for instance, and truly like it. Yet you find out at your meeting that none of the other members loved the book. You can just agree that the book was awful instead of deviate from the consensus.
This kind of compliance entails altering one’s conduct to match that of another. If your friend’s taste in music or movies changes to reflect their sexual partner’s, you could observe this.
Factors Affecting Conformity
Although there are a few explanations for why people comply, there are also other internal and environmental factors that might affect whether or not people conform in various contexts. These elements may influence a person’s propensity to fit in with the team:
Someone’s general character and aspirations, for example, can have an impact on how much they conform.
People may be more inclined to turn to others for guidance on what to do and how to behave when they are in circumstances where standards are vague or uncertain.
The number of participants:
According to the well-known conformity experiment by Asch, size of the group affects conformity to a certain extent. When there are three to five additional persons around, people are most inclined to conform.
When people believe that others have a higher status than they have, they may be more likely to conform.
Belonging: When people feel an unshakable sense of identity and cohesion with the other members of the group, conformity tends to be higher.
Individuals with different cultural origins may react to societal factors in various ways. People are frequently more willing to follow social norms in collectivist settings. People via cultures that value individualism may be less prone to accomplish this.
Level of difficulty:
People are more likely to follow the group’s norms if they lack knowledge, are unsure, or have little experience.
How can someone avoid being compliant?
Both positive and negative effects of conformity are possible. On the plus side, it can promote socially desirable behaviors and give people knowledge they need to get along in their surroundings. On the down side, it can prevent people from being creative and make them succumb to harmful peer pressure.
People don’t always fall in to peer pressure. Experts advise the following if you want to avoid complying in various social situations:
Enlist social support: If you have a few others who are prepared to resist with you, you are less likely to succumb to social pressure. When this happens, talk to your friends and family and ask them to support you in your decision to not follow the crowd.
You are more prone to conform when you are unsure of how to think, behave, or feel in a particular scenario, so develop clear, steadfast principles and convictions. Think deeply about your personal values, what matters to you, and how you can firmly adhere to them.
Create an internal locus of control. This is the ability to determine whether you feel you have control over your destiny or that events in your life are mostly the result of external factors. If you feel that you have the ability to influence events and that your own actions are capable of bringing about change in your life, you are said to have an internal locus of control. You’ll be more able to withstand societal pressure to comply if you strengthen this sense of control.
Practice: It takes practice to resist conforming. This does not imply that you should engage in blatant argumentation. Instead, practice defending your position in circumstances where you might otherwise have gone along with the crowd.