Social Psychology

One of social psychology’s primary contributions has been to show how social forces influence the behavior and attitudes of individuals. One of the strongest social influences on behavior is the tendency to conform. Conformity is the convergence of individual responses toward group norms. It is an alteration in a person’s behavior as the consequence of an imagined or actual pressure from an individual or a group. It occurs for reasons that people believe that the group is right and because they want the group to accept and approve them.

Most of the time people adopt group norms as their own, believing them to be correct and appropriate. Sometimes, however, people publicly conform to norms they do not privately accept. For instance, an adolescent would smoke in order to conform to his peers who are smoking. Even though he knows that it is bad for him, he would still continue to smoke in order to belong in the group. Sometimes, people tend to disregard their own views in order to be in a group he wants to be in.

Conformity researches demonstrated that individuals are more readily influenced to the extent that they lack information about a topic or regard it as trivial and unimportant (Brown, 2006). Compliance describes to studies and researches of the variety of social pressure where subtle, situational indications are set that would enhance the possibility of approving to a request (Bordens & Horowitz, 2001). Individuals who do not have distinct influence over us are most probably will apply these kinds of approaches to make us comply and abide with their requests. Two compliance techniques used are luncheon technique and Ingratiation.

Luncheon techniques are commonly used in business. It is based on the fact that it is easier to gain compliance from someone who is eating. People tend to be in better mood while eating. Ingratiations, or saying something nice about a person, can also illicit compliance. Flattery works, even when the recipient knows it is merely flattery. We can distinguish between conformity and compliance in the sense that conformity refers to an enduring change in attitude and behavior in response to pressure while compliance refers to a transitory shift without any real change.


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