Factors of influence Individual differences: Personal attributes such as drive to succeed and strong leadership ability are associated with a lower proclivity to comply. The group size: People are more inclined to comply in settings involving three to five other people. Contextual factors: Factors related to the situation that cause individuals to conform or not conform include the status of the group, its authority, and whether there is a legitimate reason for doing so.
In general, people tend to conform to others if they believe it will benefit them or their group. Social proof can play a big role in this process. If many people within the group do something, then it's likely that someone outside the group will as well. This can be because people want to fit in or because they want to be part of the group, but either way it shows that following the group is likely to get people what they need.
People also tend to conform to groups because it isn't individualistic enough. If everyone went their own way there would be no structure or order to society which means people would be left to fend for themselves. Groups allow people to work together while still having some freedom over how they choose to act.
Groups also have power when it comes to influencing behavior. If someone sees that the group is complying with one another's wishes then they too will follow suit. This goes for both large groups and small ones.
Larger group size, unanimity, high group cohesiveness, and a perceived greater status of the group are all connected with increased compliance. Culture, gender, age, and the relevance of stimuli are all characteristics connected with compliance. Culture determines what actions are considered appropriate behaviors for a given situation. Gender refers to the fact that males and females behave differently in some situations. Age affects how people act; children, for example, have been shown to be more likely to disobey their parents than adults. The relevance of stimuli is another factor that affects behavior. If someone does not feel like they are being observed or heard, they are less likely to obey instructions.
The more people in a group, the more likely it is that they will all agree on what behavior is deemed acceptable. This is called "group polarization" and it happens when everyone in the group rejects whatever position first came up for discussion. Group size also has an effect on polarization. The larger the group, the more likely it is that everyone will come to believe that their view is the only valid one. Small groups tend to be more open minded because they allow for more diversity of opinion. Cultural differences can play a role here as well. In some cultures it is normal for many different opinions to be held by one person. Others may have strong beliefs but be willing to compromise them if doing so will benefit the group as a whole.
Group size: bigger groups are more likely than smaller ones to exhibit comparable actions and beliefs. When the majority of the group responds in unison, individuals are more inclined to comply to collective judgments. Groups of three or four are generally considered a maximum for effective decision-making.
Stereotyping: people tend to judge others based on their labels at face value. In other words, they think that because someone is named John or Mary then this must be their default personality trait. As we know from research on stereotype threat and implicit bias, these names can actually have an impact on an individual's performance on tests or activities where success depends on their ability to think outside themselves.
Crowded conditions: when there are too many people around us, it can be difficult to perceive any single aspect of another person's appearance or demeanor. We simply see a blur of faces and bodies.
Group polarization: this occurs when a minority view is expressed by one member of the group, which causes everyone else in the group to agree with it. If no one disagrees, then the group has agreed without knowing it. Group polarization can lead members of a society to believe that there is agreement on issues that actually divide them.
Labeling: this is the process by which individuals assign meanings to behaviors.
Conformity Influences Behavior: Conformity is usually driven by a person's affiliation with a certain group. In theory, a person must follow the norms and regulations that govern the group's conduct in order to be properly recognized as a member. These behaviors may first contradict their own personal principles. However, once they are part of the group, they will also begin to conform to the group's values and standards.
Conformity can have two main effects on behavior: (1) it can motivate people to adopt the attitudes and behaviors of the group into which they identify themselves; and (2) it can also help maintain these groups' identities by requiring members to behave according to a set of shared norms. Groups using coercion or intimidation to ensure compliance with these norms will often achieve better results than groups of equal size who do not.
People tend to be more likely to show conformity behavior when they believe that others are looking over their shoulders. For example, when given the choice between walking home alone at night or waiting for a friend to pick them up, most people will choose to walk home alone because they believe that others will judge them if they go outside of the norm.
Additionally, people prefer to be part of a group and want to be accepted by others within this group. This means that they will try to fit in and match the behaviors of the group in order to be considered one of its members.