Conformity refers to the most influential forces that one has on a person. Conformity changes the beliefs and behaviors of people in order to fit in a group. There are many psychological factors influencing people to conform to a society or a group. People follow the norms of the group so they will be accepted and not rejected in a group. People feel that others are more likely to respect them, give them importance and value them as a group member when they will follow their group norms. They start involving their self in activities that group is involved in and their own opinions are influenced by the majority of the group. Need of belonging, approval and encouragement all these factors psychologically push one to follow the group. Beside these other psychological factors such as sense of insecurity, low self esteem, low confidence, low expectation for future, lack of belief on self, social pressure all influence people to conform to the group. It is so influential that many times people commit acts that they would not normally commit. For example people smoke because they think their friends will like them more if they do that.
Psychologists (Solomon Ashe, 1950) have conducted a series of experiments designed to demonstrate the power of conformity in a groups. Ash measured whether the subject would modify their interpretations based on the majority opinion and suggest that conformity can be influenced by the need to fit in a group and a belief that other people are smarter and better informed.
A perspective on social influence is offered by “social identity theory” (Abrams & Hogg 1990), their theory assumes that members adopt those norms and behaviors as their own that are center to the social identity of the group.
Researches mention above describing the true nature of human psychology as we can see now a days in a group where status of smoker or non smoker is center of the social identity of the group, members of the group will also show these behaviors. People follow fashion trends to maintain their social status so other admire them. Using social apps to socialize is another example of conformity as everyone is using social media to appear “cool” and boost their self-esteem.
But my opinion is that don’t just blindly follow the masses. One should have confidence on her/his self, thoughts and beliefs. . It’s important to analyze whether you want what you want for yourself or if you want it for the acceptance of others? Ask yourself whether the actions of others are warranted, rational and according to your moral codes? Take your time to find out the correct information before thoughtlessly and blindly following others.
For additional reading:
Cherry, K. (2012). The Asch Conformity Experiments. Retrieved from
James,E. D. (1959). Attractiveness of group as function of self esteem and acceptance by group. The journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,59(1), 77-82.