Reaction Paper

Topics: Sociology, Social psychology, Psychology Pages: 3 (887 words) Published: October 12, 2008
Social psychology is the area of psychology that studies how people are influenced by each other. Social influence is a major part of social psychology. There are two types of social influence. They are normative social influence and informational social influence. Both normative and informational social influence are theoretical concepts because you cannot see the information being passed. Conformity is a result of social influence. Even if people do not realize it, they are conforming in society everyday as a result of social influence.

As humans we feel the need to belong to social groups. In these social groups we conform to the rules of other people, sometimes without even realizing it. We most often conform to these rules around complete strangers. We follow other people’s behavior and decisions because that is what is considered normal or accepted. This, in psychology, is known as normative social influence. Normative social influence is all about how people go along with social norms. According to, social norms are “the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.” We do this because people provide rewards and punishments for our behaviors. For example, there is a social norm of not singing loudly on a crowded bus. If a person were to sing loudly on a crowed bus, he or she would likely receive some punishment for it. The punishment would probably be weird looks from people, or possibly being made fun of. Another example of normative social influence, and a very common one among people my age, is the way people dress. People often dress a certain way to get the reward of being popular or people liking them.

Informational social influence occurs when we do not know what to do or how to act, so we copy what other people are doing. Those people thus act as information sources for us. We assume they know what they are doing, although we usually do not know for sure because...
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