Why Do People Conform? Essays

1383 Words Nov 22nd, 2006 6 Pages
The causes of conformity among individuals have long been debated and researched in recent decades. It is for this reason that conformity is an intriguing psychological concept. It causes sound-minded individuals to go against their best judgement, to engage in behaviour which they usually would not engage in, even accept and welcome an idea they internally disagree with, all in order to not be a deviant from the group. It is thus interesting to look at the factors which cause people to conform, to do what they see others doing, to rely on the judgements of the group, and to ignore their own senses and perceptions. It is the reasons for the individual's desire to conform that I will be discussing in this paper. …show more content…
Another essential element we must consider when determining the reasons individuals choose to conform is social acceptance. I would now like to direct your attention to an interesting experiment carried out by Johnson and Sheets. Imagine a group of freshmen, possibly in UCC. They choose to conduct a drinking game, even though they all know that it is not a good idea, and is potentially harmful to their health. This contradiction of an individual's own better judgement is an interesting example of conformity as it demonstrates their need for social acceptance. Upon entering the game the students had an anticipated outcome, such as new friendships, relationships and greater popularity. It seems that our desire for acceptance is so strong that we may be willing to put ourselves at risk to achieve it. An indispensable area which plays a part in the individual's desire to conform is the individual's social identity. Studies show that there may be cultural reasons for conforming. An examination of the history of conformity in America and Eastern Asian cultures over the past few decades revealed that individuals' decisions to conform, and to what extent, is largely a product of culture (Kim & Markus). In Eastern Asian countries conforming is seen as harmonising and a positive thing, whereas in the United States it is viewed as contrary to the individual's freedom, and

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