We often have those friends that constantly do random things because they want to be with the in crowd. Whether is be drinking, smoking, or gossiping, people often will give in to the pressure of the crowd. But why is this so? Chapter 15 explains this question as to why people partake in these things. The book describes this behavior of our friends as conformity. Conformity is defines as the adjusting of one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
People often give into conformity by normative and informational social influences. Normative social influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. These people usually want to fit in with a group. We often fall into this when they go to parties drinking, laughing if someone may be getting picked on, or even clap even if you didn’t like a performance. The person may not originally be a mean person, but when surrounded by a group, they will usually give in to what the rest of them are going. Informational social influence is the result from a person’s willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality. This is usually when our friends may constantly ask us questions as to what to do next. For example, our friends may ask us what to wear, where are we going next, or even where are we eating.
Solomon Asch tested this phenomenon of conformity. He had a participant sit in on a panel of other people who were in on the experiment. They were asked about the length of lines and which compared with another. After many trials of the panel answering incorrectly, the participant began to conform his answers even though they were wrong. The pressure of conformity is very strong, but will people ever be able to comfortably go against social norms?