Essay Conformity as Seen by Different Cultures

Essay Conformity as Seen by Different Cultures

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Whether we know it or not, we all tend to succumb to the norm of others. We do something or act a certain way because we want to fit in with the others around us. Whether it be from bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism, or social norm, conforming to the way of society is a part of life. Conformity is defined as a change in behavior or belief in order to accord with others. We all strive to be liked and to fit in, sometimes conforming to others around us is the only was we see fit to do so. Other factors that effect conformity are group size, unanimity, cohesion, public response, and prior commitment (Bikhchandani, Hirshleifer & Welch, 1998).
Different cultures view conformity in different ways. Western individualistic cultures view conformity negatively. They believe giving in to peer pressure is not an admirable trait. Standing out and showing uniqueness is admired and thought of as a superior trait. Other cultures that also believe this way, are the European and North American cultures. However, in Japan, it is considered a sign of maturity. They believe it shows a sign of self-control, where you go along with others to keep things calm and orderly. Standing out and causing a public scene for attention is not something you se often in this culture. Conformity or “going with the flow” of society is what they believe keeps the peace (Myers, 2013).
Conformity is not always a bad thing, it can stop someone from doing something because others do it, or others see it as a bad thing. Like cutting line at a restaurant, this is programmed in many individuals as "a disrespectful thing to do" therefore they are conformed to act a certain way. This is considered a good conformity (Bikhchandani, Hirshleifer & Welch, 1998)....

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...ormity happens without even thinking about it. One puts the lid back on the milk before setting it in the fridge, they stand in line at the movie theatre, and they push their chairs under the table before leaving the restaurant. Conformity can be good and it can be bad. Either way majority usually rules.

Works Cited

Buckley, K. E., Winkel, R. E., & Leary, M. R. (2004). Reactions to acceptance and rejection: Effects of level and sequence of relational evaluation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(1), 14-28.
Myers, D. (2013). Social psychology. (11 ed., pp. 189-213). New York: The McGraw Hill Company.
Bikhchandani, S., Hirshleifer, D., & Welch, I. (1998). Learning from the behavior of others: Conformity, fads, and informational cascades. Journal of Economic Perspectives,
Mcleod, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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