Have you ever noticed a person who is expressing their individuality? This person may dress out of the norm or have a hair style not like the rest of society. Does this person belong to a crowd of people who are also expressing their individuality and their creativity in a similar way? Well, if this person belongs to a crowd of people, he or she is not expressing their individuality. He or she is conforming (and they think they are rebelling against conformity) to the "rules" or "norms" of that crowd. How are we pressured to conform? Why do we conform?
One of the two reasons we conform is to avoid rejection or to gain social approval. We are trained at a very young age to follow the rules and those who do not follow the rules are "bad." This is called normative social influence-the idea that following the rules is "good" and those who do not follow the rules are "bad." .
Kerry plays soccer. Her soccer team left for Louisiana to help with the Hurricane clean-up. She did not go with the team. Her teammates were upset with her and she felt ostracized from her community when she was asked why she did not go and help. Many of her teammates told her to quit the team. Due to the fact she did not follow the norms of her team, she was made to feel inadequate and she left the team.
Respecting norms of society is not the only reason people conform. Another reason we conform is because we welcome the information others provide. We think the group may provide valuable information. When we accept others’ opinions about reality we respond to informational social influence
Informational Social Influence The idea that other's interpretation of an situation is more accurate than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action.
When supporting people who are taking a stand for breast cancer we applaud those who are “open-minded” and “sensitive” enough to be responsive and make a difference.
When influence supports what we disapprove, we disrespect the submissive conformity. We may believe smoking is not appropriate in restaurants. We would disrespect those who are lobbying for a bill to allow smoking in places where food is available as they are going against what we support or what we are "conforming to."
Please watch this video on Conformity below~