Conformity is best described as a type of social influence involving changing one’s beliefs or actions in order to fit in with the crowd. Fear of rejection and criticism, social approval, and to avoid feeling inferior are all reasons why people conform. There are three types of conformity: compliance, which will be discussed in depth later, identification, and internalization. One type of conformity is social norms. Social norms are behaviors considered appropriate in a society or group of people (Matlin, 2013). For example, it is considered socially normal to hold open the door for someone. Typically, there can be a chain reaction; when one person holds the door for another, that person holds the door for the one behind them, and so on. People who do not conform to this pattern are deviating from what is considered socially acceptable. There is no consequence to deviating but it might be considered rude by the people witnessing this action. Another type of conformity is cults. Cults, like the Peop...
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...nt part of social influence.
Understanding how people interact with each other continues to be an evolving part of social psychology. While conformity, compliance, and obedience may be three separate topics related to social influence, they can all be interconnected. People can be compliant as well as obedient; they can conform while complying with the rules. The social influence the people around us have over our lives is what makes each individual unique and helps create different groups within society. People can be members of many different groups and may participate in different parts of social influence in each group. It is how an individual is affected by these influences that makes the study of social influence so important. Even though society says we must conform, be obedient, or comply with the rules, we can still do so while remaining true to ourselves.
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