Why Do People Conform?

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Why do people conform?

Conformity is an intriguing psychological concept thus been debated and researched for years. Due to different factors it causes sound minded individuals to change their beliefs or behaviour to avoid being shunned from the group, even if they internally disagree. Crutchfied R.S (1962 cited Hardy and Heyes 1994) stated the definition of conformity “Yielding to group pressures” this means the mere existence of a group belief, may make some individuals conform to it, without any actual force. From children we are taught what is and is not acceptable behaviour in public, would you do your weekly shopping in your pyjamas? No, it’s not discussed but as a society every member is aware of these unwritten rules in social behaviour as we are taught them. Do we analysis this behaviour as conformity or do we accept to have a functioning society for us all to coexist there must be rules in place. In this essay I will disuses some theories and research on conformity. Conformity is often referred to as the agreement of the majority, changing your behaviour to comply with real or imagined group pressure. There is a general agreement there are two main reasons why people conform and that is normative social influences and informational social influences. Normative social influences driven with the need to be accepted or liked by the group, informational social influences unsure how to behave and believe others are better informed. Social norms is a process of conformity and my vary depending upon the culture. Most of us on a daily basis adhere to social norms without even realising, as it is necessary for human being to coexist as a society. Jenness A. (1932 cited McLeod S.A. 2007) was one of the first psychologists to research conformity, he conducted a basic experiment with a jar of beans in an ambiguous (uncertain) situation, Jenness asked the participants to make individually estimations on how many beans were inside, he then put them in...
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