The Psychology Behind Social Influence

The Psychology Behind Social Influence

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Social influence can be explained as international or unintentional change, revision, or adaptation in anyone’s behaviour or perception (opinion or assumption) because of the people around them.

The level of influence is determined by the power, authority, social image, reputation or respect the person holds in society.

In other words, Social Influence is the process where at least two people are involved. One person is creating the change and another person is the reason for that change.

The cause of the change/ revision/ adaptation can be voluntary or involuntary.
Voluntarily reason can be:
  1. To be accepted by the person or group of people.
  2. Getting approval from that person or group of People.
  3. Gaining respect in the eyes of another person or group of people.
  4. For showing intelligence to another person or group of people.
  5. For gaining benefit (personal/professional/ Social/ emotional)by favouring another person or group of people.
Involuntary causes can be:
  1. A person feels another person’s ideas or actions serve him/her better.
  2. Another person has provoked or touched any previous insecurities of the first person and the person is unconsciously affected by that.
  3. Another person seems more shorted by practising such behaviour or thoughts and the person adapts the change in belief to gain such calmness or clarity.
  4. Unknown fear or fear of rejection by the people or group of people
  5. The reasons can be many.
Why do people get influenced?

From the beginning, humans were taught what to think instead of what to think.

They were told what was good and what was bad. For example, if someone is good in studies, respect or follow their elders or gets up early in the morning they are a good person and if someone fight with their classmates, or stay out late at night they are perceived as a bad person.
This good or bad behaviour is guided by the people around them, the culture, religion and belief system of the family members.

What happens if anyone is easily socially influenced?

People who get easily influenced feel that they moved far from their original identity. They might experience a sense of fake identity, confusion or inner conflict as they experience constant argument in two or more than two contrary thoughts or actions. This change in perception can result in easily losing temper or patience. Mental clashes or conflicts can appear in emotional outbursts.

People are at peace when they are close to who they are. For an extrovert, it is really difficult to stay alone and for an introvert, it is really difficult to attend social gatherings. They can enjoy when they are doing what makes them feel connected.

What can be the cause of the above-mentioned situations?

The simple answer to this question is, that they did not think about the long-lasting impact of that change, they were under pressure, they has to mix up in a group or they might be asked to.

To avoid this trouble, one must ask certain questions to themselves before doing any voluntary change.
  1. Why do they think, they need that change in themselves?
  2. What is the benefit and loss of change?
  3. Do they really feel they need this change in behaviour or they are doing it just for the sake of people around them?
  4. If they will not change what will happen to them?

Before changing one must do critical thinking and then work towards embarrassing the change.

Types of social influence
1) Group polarization:

The tendency is when people confirm the group opinion or view to the extreme. For example, you can see on social media people sometimes making extremely negative or extremely positive comments and the comment section is filled with either one type of comment.

2) Social loafing:

When people do not take necessary action or put less effort as a member of a group as compared to working as an individual. Rope rope-pulling experiment by Max Ringelmann is a good experiment for understanding the nature of social loafing.

3) Group thinking:

Group thinking is a phenomenon for tendency of people who agree to an alternative or decision without thinking critically as they don’t want to update the group members. The Asch conformity experiment is a very famous experiment to know this concept.

4) Compliance:

When a person changes his or her opinion in response to another person’s explicit or implicit request. Stanford Prison Experiment is a famous experiment in this field of psychology.

5) Obedience:

Obedience refers to a response to the order made by any authority figure. Milgram’s experiment is very famous for experiment for obedience.

6) Peer pressure:

When a person feels pressure of a group to behave or act in a specific way to be accepted in the group.

7) Persuasion:

When someone tries to change someone’s attitude or action towards something or tries to make a person do a certain action by influencing someone.

8) Deindividuation:

When someone behaves impulsively, or violently in a situation because they know that their individual identity will not be discovered.

9) Social facilitation:

This concept explains how person’s behaviour or performance is enhanced in the presence of others.

These are a few types of Social influences which can affect anyone’s behaviour or thoughts. None of us remains invulnerable to the demands of our physical survival or stands aloof and insusceptible to the shaping influences of society. But strong minded people are once who have more control on behaviour. People can get affected by the environment, but what a wise person can do is change once they are aware of behaviour which is undesirable for them.

Anything which is beautiful will not always suit you. Be decent and opt of behaviour or thoughts which match with your original identity. At the end of the day we want peace with growth and this is possible only when people choose for what fits them instead of trying to fix themselves.

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