Compliance involves changing your behaviors to “fit in” or “agree” with the people around you.  In some cases, this social influence may involve agreeing to or acting like most people in a specific group, or it may involve behaving in a particular way so that the group perceives it as “normal” … even if you don’t really want to behave in a particular way. that particular shape. This is called social influence and it is exercised accordingly.

Conformity in social influence

Conformity is the most general concept and refers to any change in behavior caused by another person or group; the individual acted in some way due to the influence of others. Please note that compliance is limited to changes in behavior caused by other people; we refer to the effects of other people on internal concepts such as attitudes or beliefs … Conformity encompasses compliance and obedience because it refers to any behavior that occurs as a result of the influence of others, regardless of the nature of the influence .

Therefore, it can be defined as giving in to group pressure, something that almost all of us do part of the time. Suppose, for example, that you go with friends to see a movie. You didn’t think the movie was very good, but all your friends thought it was absolutely brilliant. You might be tempted to settle by pretending to agree with their verdict on the movie instead of defending your position.

Why do we settle?

People settle for several different reasons:

    • Know how to behave in front of others
    • Have more knowledge or experience than others and follow the example
  • Adjusting to group expectations and avoiding being ‘outside the norm’ (this can become particularly strong in situations where we are not quite sure how to act or where expectations are ambiguous).

There are also two key reasons why people conform: informational influence and normative influence.

    1. Informational influence  occurs when people change their behavior to be or appear to others, correct. In situations where we are not sure of the correct answer, we often look to other people who are better informed and more knowledgeable, and we use their leadership as a guide for our own behaviors. In a classroom, for example, this could mean agreeing with the judgments of another classmate that you perceive as very intelligent.
  1. Normative influence stems from a desire to avoid punishment (like following class rules even if you don’t agree with them) and to earn rewards (like behaving in a certain way so that people will like you).

The types of influences

The influences normative and informative are two major types of compliance, but there are other reasons why we settle. The following are some of the main types of compliance.

    • Normative compliance: involves changing one’s behavior to fit in with the group.
    • Informational compliance: occurs when a person lacks knowledge and seeks information and direction in the group.
    • Identification occurs when people conform to what is expected of them based on their social roles. 
    • Compliance: involves changing one’s behavior while internally disagreeing with the group.
  • Internalization occurs when we change our behavior because we want to be like someone else.

Influencing factors

    • Task Difficulty : Difficult tasks can lead to higher or lower compliance. Not knowing how to perform a difficult task makes people more likely to settle, but greater difficulty can also make people more accepting of different answers, leading to less compliance.
    • Individual differences: Personal characteristics, such as motivation to achieve and strong leadership skills, are linked to a lower tendency to adjust.
    • Group size: People  are more likely to settle in situations that involve three to five other people.
    • Characteristics of the situation: People are  more likely to settle for ambiguous situations where they are unclear on how they should respond.
  • Cultural differences: People from collectivist cultures are more likely to conform.

Examples to understand it better

    • A teenager dresses in a certain style because he wants to fit in with the rest of the boys in his social group.
    • A 20-year-old college student drinks at a party for her college group because all her friends are doing it and she doesn’t want to be the stranger.
  • A student is unsure about the answer to a particular question posed by the teacher. When another student in the class provides an answer, the confused student agrees with the answer, believing that the other student is smarter and better informed.

Is it worth following the masses?

Actually, it is too important to develop critical thinking to be able to have your own opinion of the different circumstances of life. It takes willpower and good self-esteem to be able to stand in front of a crowd and disagree on something that others seem to agree on. Not always others are right and therefore, it is essential to develop and work on critical thinking from an early age. Children are the first to begin to develop this type of thinking so that in adult life they are not always satisfied with what others think or decide.

Success consists of knowing where to go even if it means going against the flow of what others want or do. Although humanity wants to be accepted at all costs to appear ‘normal’, it is necessary to be aware that we each have our own idiosyncrasies. This marks the essential of people and therefore makes us unique and different from each other.

What do you prefer? Follow the crowd because it seems like what they say makes sense or think for yourself? If you are wrong in your thinking, you will have learned something new … But if you let yourself be carried away, your mind will remain asleep.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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