How Social Influences Affect One's Actions

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How Social Influences Affect One's Actions

Have you ever wondered why people make certain decisions? Do they think it's morally the right thing to do, or is something or someone influencing them to make these decisions? My purpose in writing this paper is to show how social influences affect people's decision to act in a certain way. Conformity, compliance, and obedience are all forms of social influences that affect how people act. Aronson defines conformity as "a change in a person's behavior or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or group or people." (Aronson, 2004) There has been much debate whether if conformity is a good or bad thing. I think it truly depends on the situation and if ones morals are in any way negatively affected. An experiment was conducted by Solomon Asch to show how conformity affects an individual's decision to give a correct answer or to conform to the majority and give the wrong answer. In this experiment Asch invites various college students to engage in a psychological experiment where they are showed different lengths of lines and are asked of the lines which two are equal in length. The results of this experiment reveal that of the 123 subjects put to the test, 36.8% of the time they yielded to the majority. (Asch, 1955) This experiment proved that when there are a group of people agreeing on something it is rare that one acts as an individualist and gives the correct answer. Many times people become conformists to be socially accepted or if they have low self-esteem. Bur regardless of the reason for becoming a conformist it still affects how one acts. The next form of social influence is compliance. "Compliance best describes the behavior of a person who is motivated by a desire to gain reward or avoid punishment." (Asch, 2004) A common example of compliance is when a mother offers her son or daughter a reward to clean their room or threats to punish them if they don't clean their...
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