Factors that influence conformity
Conformity can be defined as a adjusting of behavior to fit the social norms of a group of culture in one’s life. In Ashes study (1951) about conformity it is shown that we have a need to belong, to fit in the social norms and culture surrounding us. Human beings usually conform because we have a long for the security a group can brings us. We are willing to change our behavior, beliefs and attitude to suit the norms of the group we long to be a part of. Another reason for us conforming to a group may be because of insecurity, we may think that “they” are more knowledgeable than we are therefore “we” should conform to “them” because they know best. This is a very broad statement; to help us understand what the word conformity is we have divided the concept into three different factors, informational influence, normative influence and referent informational influence. These three factors help us understand the concept of conformity. The first of the three factors of conformity which I want to introduce is informational influence. Informational influence is when we turn to others to obtain and accept information about our reality. If we feel uncertain about something particular it is so much easier to conform to a group of individual because we are convinced that they are more knowledgeable and capable of handling the situation. Informational influence is the factor which seemed to have occurred in Sherif’s (1935) study. The aim of Sherif’s study was to find out how many people would change their opinion to fit the norm of a group. Informational influence showed that over time the participants’ seeked the answers of the other participants because they wanted to overcome, remove the ambiguous reality they were facing and conform to a group. Sherif’s study can be seen problematic from different points of views, one of them from Tajels (1979) social identity theory. The participants may have not conformed because of insecurity but...
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