People allow social factors to impact their thinking and conduct for a variety of reasons. One explanation is that we frequently conform to a group's standards in order to obtain the acceptance of its members. Furthermore, group uniformity promotes a sense of togetherness within a society. Finally, following the crowd can be a quick way to find new opportunities or take advantage of new situations.
Social norms are the guidelines by which most people behave within a given society. These include rules such as "Don't hit others" or "Say 'Thank You' even if you receive something valuable." Social norms are created and enforced by groups of people within a community. They help maintain order and prevent chaos by providing an overall framework for acceptable behavior.
People follow social norms to fit in with their group. This can be important for individuals looking for friends or employment. It also helps communities work together effectively by ensuring that everyone plays by the same rules. For example, if it is illegal to walk down the street singing at the top of your lungs, then no one will do this because they would be punished if they were caught.
Individuals may not always act according to social norms, but they tend to do so more often than not. This is because making an effort to fit in usually has benefits for people's self-esteem.
Social psychologists attribute the effects of social influence to two factors: normative influence and informational impact (Deutsch & Gerard, 1955). The desire to satisfy the expectations of others and be accepted by others drives normative influence. Individuals try to match their behaviors to those of others in an attempt to be perceived as similar to whom they want to be associated. Social information processing theories explain the effect of informational impact by referring to the tendency of individuals to rely on information from certain sources more than others.
Normative influence is strongest when it comes from someone you trust, such as a friend or family member. They can help guide your decisions by providing advice and guidance based on what they think is right. When making choices that affect other people, it's important to take their opinions into account.
Informational impact refers to the fact that we tend to believe information that agrees with our views and ignore information that doesn't. This phenomenon is called "confirmation bias" and it plays a major role in how individuals process information about candidates and issues before them. If someone expresses an opinion about an issue that you believe to be wrong, it can cause you to disregard or even deny evidence that contradicts their claim.
Social impact may take many forms. Conformity is one sort of such influence, in which a person adopts the beliefs or actions of others. An person may conform to a group's beliefs and ideals. They exhibit support for group-accepted viewpoints and will refrain from criticizing group standards. Social proof is another form of social influence: the tendency to copy what other people do. A third type of social influence is coercion, which can be either indirect or direct. Indirect coercion involves the use of authority to obtain compliance as in the case of parents forcing their children to eat their vegetables or go to school. Direct coercion involves using force to compel someone to do something. For example, a leader could order all his or her soldiers to attack an enemy stronghold.
Social influences can also be positive. Social incentives are environmental cues that signal that specific behaviors will benefit an individual. For example, if you walk into a room where there is food being eaten, you will feel the urge to join in; this is because eating together is a social incentive that signals that you are part of a group and thus deserve some of the food. Social norms define the accepted behaviors within a society. People follow social norms to fit in with their community. Social sanctions are punishments that are imposed on those who violate social norms. For example, if someone is caught eating meat on Friday, they would be punished by having some of their hair removed. Rewards are signs given out by leaders or groups that induce individuals to perform certain behaviors.
In addition to influencing what people think and do, conformity can also affect how they feel. People who conform often report feeling good about themselves after performing an act that matches the behavior of others.
Cultural impact involves any change that alters a culture; for example, adoption of new technologies, foreign occupation, or immigration. The effects of cultural impact can be positive or negative, depending on the nature of the change. Positive effects include improvement of living standards through adoption of new technology or ideas, while negative effects include rejection of outsiders and resistance to change.
An individual's formation is affected by social impact in terms of mental attitude development. For example, social impact can have positive or negative effects on an individual's self-esteem. This is because individuals compare their own behaviors with those of others, and this comparison allows them to develop an understanding of what behavior is appropriate for themselves. If they see others as more successful for adopting certain behaviors, they will feel inadequate if they behave differently and will want to change this situation by following the example of the others.
Individuals are also influenced by social impact in terms of identity development.