Conformity and obedience are two things that individuals participate in when choosing their ways of life and if they want to be a part of a group. Our society relies on groups and the proper function. Nevertheless, when is it ok to long to fit in and when is it going beyond the norm? Covered in this paper will be defining conformity as well as obedience, theories and research on group affect as well as factors that influence deviance from the group. To each his own in the world of fitting in and belonging.
Conformity is the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, or behavior in ways that are consistent with group norms (Brehm, Kassin & Fein, 1999, p 213). This is evident in high school students who are trying to find themselves. They go from clique to clique and many think that in order to fit in and be liked they have to fit into the mold of the others who the group is composed of. Sherif, 1936, demonstrated that individual perceptions that initially varied considerably, converged once placed in a group. In this particular view, there were opinions taken initially of situations and then whenever they were exposed to the actual situation the individuals had different views. This reflects that when given circumstances things can change. Hence, the saying, “you never know until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes.”
There are factors that have to be taken into account when conformity is taking place, these factors are: informational influence, normative influence, size of group, awareness of norms, presence of an ally, age differences, gender differences, and cultural influences. Each of these plays a role in conformity and has their own usage. Informational influence is when you conform because you believe that others are correct in their judgments. Sheriff’s (1936) study illustrates this concept. Normative influence is when you conform because you fear the possible negative social consequences of not going along....