Social Influence and Group Conformity

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Kim Smith
Psyc 1101
Paper 1
2-23-12
Social Influence and Group Conformity
I grew up in a small city thirty minutes south of Atlanta, which is where I have lived for the majority of my life. By growing up and living in the same town for so long, I started to become accustomed to this certain life style and was use to being around the same group of people. At the end of my eighth grade year my parents told me how my grandparents needed extra help around the house, and that I was going to be living with them for the entire summer. Although we traveled to Wisconsin to visit them yearly, moving in with them for the summer was a complete culture shock and a role reversal to me. I was use to growing up in a wealthy area with lots of shopping, things to do, and always knowing whom everybody is. My grandparents however, live in a secluded town with their house on a lake, no shopping malls or chick-fil- a, and a thirty minute drive to the nearest Walmart. Everything was different about being in this small, northern town and I had to make new friends and develop new interests in order to fit in and have a fun time, during my stay there over the summer. Having their house be on a lake, gave me the opportunity to pick up fishing. This was a foreign activity for me, although it proved to be a lot of fun. Fishing for me became a great outlet and an easy way to make new friends while I was there. I now had a similar interest with my new group of peers and a great place to take everyone. I really began to like fishing and living in the north with all of these different out door activities that I was not use to doing. 

This story is just one of the many examples of what psychologists refer to as the conformity theory. Our book “Psychological Science,” describes conformity as the altering of ones opinions or behaviors to match those of others or to match social norms. Conformity, which can either be public or private, is a result of normative and informational social...
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