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Conformity in Psychology Essay

More than 75% of teenagers decide to wear certain types of clothes in order to fit in with the group of their classmates. In psychology, this behavior is associated with conformity.

Conformity is a change of one’s behavior and belief to fit in with the fixed social group. To my mind, conformity is one of the most important elements, which shape our society. People are social creatures; for that reason, they want to coexist and cooperate with one another. No wonder, people have to conform to the standards and norms of behavior accepted by the specific social group.

Conformity is a gripping and relevant problem. Many psychologists have paid attention to the research of this term. The most well-known synonyms of conformity are group pressure and majority influence.

People try to change their behavior and manners in order to be accepted by the target social groups.

The brightest examples of conformity can be observed in the most trivial everyday situations. For example, a teenager decides to change his style in order to integrate into the group of his mates who like hip-hop music. Then, a student watches a movie for his movie club. He enjoys this movie and goes to the meeting to share his delight and emotions with others. Unfortunately, no one else likes this movie. Thus, the student says that he does not enjoy this movie either. He wants to be like other members of his club. Finally, an inventive employee decides to pretend that he is fond of fishing in order to establish firm contacts with his boss though he has never tried fishing before.

As you see, you can find the presence of conformity everywhere. I am sure that there is hardly a person in the world who has never changed her mind under the pressure of her social group. Above all things, the main types of conformity should be observed. The concept of conformity is so broad that psychologists have defined at least five kinds of this category. The first type is normative conformity. This style of behavior is characterized with the acceptance of the norms of the social group. The person wants to become a member of this group and he alters his worldview, values and behavior. The second type is informational conformity. A human being does not possess her own opinion about the surrounding world and she accepts the standards of life of the target society. Next, there is identification, which occurs when an individual wants to play the definite social role to become a member of the definite group of people. The representatives of every occupation have their genuine qualities and norms of behavior, for example, police officers, physicists, students, bus drivers, miners, etc. Compliance is the fourth branch of conformity. One changes his behavior temporarily to receive the acceptance, benefits and privileges from the members of the specific social group. His actual beliefs remain unchanged. This person can even criticize and disagree with her group. Finally, there is internalization. A human being changes her behavior and worldview in order to be like another person.

Likewise, we can observe the factors that influence the intensiveness of conformity. When the task is difficult and people do not know how to react in the particular situation, they are more likely to conform to the group, because they are looking for assistance. The size of a group is important for the increase or decrease of conformity. People are more likely to conform to a bigger group than to a smaller one. When a group consists of only two people, the possibility of conformity is low. Of course, conformity depends on the individual differences. There are many ambitious leaders who do not agree to conform even in the most difficult and challenging situations. Furthermore, the representatives of collectivist cultures (mainly Asia, Africa and South America) are more likely to conform than individualistic cultures (North America and Europe).

It is vital to understand the factors that influence conformity. This knowledge can be useful in bringing up, education and human resource management. Moreover, you can explain the deviant behavior of teenagers who act like rebels breaking the norms of our conservative society. Ultimately, experts can treat numerous psychological disorders using the human predisposition towards conformity.

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