Social Influences on Behavior

Topics: Psychology, Sociology, Social influence Pages: 4 (1256 words) Published: May 16, 2010
Social Influences on Behavior
Somchai Knorr
Grantham University

Social Influences on Behavior
“Sociologists and philosophers had recognized that people behave differently in crowds than they do as individuals and that a crowd is more than the mere sum of its parts” (Kowalski & Western, 2005). Human behavior changes based on social situations individuals may encounter, and these encounters may begin as early as toddler years. Individuals learn to adapt to society by changing their behavior in order to “fit in” with the rest of the crowd. Two examples of how an individual’s behavior changes based on social situations are when a) a person decides to drink liquor at a social event. The second example of when an individual’s behavior changes based on social situations is b) when a person decides to smoke marijuana or cigarettes. One may see these behaviors in an individual who regularly does not behave like so when they are trying to act like “everyone else.” These behaviors may be seen in situations such as a party, a club, or a popular social event, where an individual will find it fitting to behave differently to receive recognition from other social crowds. Precursors and Consequences

“When he first arrived on campus at age 18, he figured he had to drink if he wanted to fit in, even though the legal drinking age is 21” (Wilson, 2008). Students, especially in colleges and universities, find themselves in situations where they believe they have to take part in drinking and partying to get approval from the rest of the student body to increase their self-esteem and popularity. An example of social comparison would be a student drinking and smoking to fit in with the crowd. Adults may also find themselves peer pressured to drink alcohol or smoke when taking part in extracurricular activities, such as going out to clubs or attending social events, to feel relaxed or content. Drinking and smoking is advertised on a daily basis as a way of “enjoying the party.”...

References: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. PAHO. (2008). Retrieved October 11, 2009, from
http://www.camh.net/About_Addiction_Mental_Health/Drug_and_Addiction_Informatio
October 6, 2009, from University of Phoenix, Week Five, PSY/300—General
Psychology Web site.
Wilson, Brenda. (2008, October 23). University Uses 'Social Norming ' to Curb Drinking. NPR
Health
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