June 25, 2012
Social Influences on Behavior
All humans’ behavior is affected by social influences to some extent. The level of influence will vary from person to person, depending on the several factors, such as self-esteem, their level of self-awareness, morals, and values (Velden, 2007). People do many things to ensure they are accepted by the people in their group and to keep from being ostracized by individuals around them (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Individuals are usually guided by their own sense of what is right or wrong and will make logical decisions based on this. However, they will sometimes completely push their own individual identity to the background to experience a sense of belonging to a group (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Their need for approval and a feeling of acceptance will take precedence. Social psychology is the area of psychology that studies how people interact with each other and how they influence each other in different areas. Conformity
When a person conforms he changes his behavior to accommodate the standards of friends or others within a group. The pressure to do this can be extremely high even if it is not stated openly (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). With conformity an individual is not told to do something or to believe a certain way, rather he changes the way he acts to be accepted by others. This can be seen in young people joining gangs within their own communities. They willingly give up their own beliefs, morals, and identities to incorporate the beliefs of the gang even if the values of the group go against their own. The enemies of the gang become their enemies. The moral sense of right and wrong are determined by the group and not a single person. They consciously accept these terms because they acknowledge that loss of their individualism is required to become a member of the group (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). In...