Conformity (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
Adaptation of one's behavior or beliefs to match those of the other members of a group.
Conformity describes the adaptation of behavior that occurs in response to unspoken group pressure. It differs from compliance, which is adaptation of behavior resulting from overt pressure. Individuals conform to or comply with group behavior in an attempt to "fit in" or to follow the norms of the social group. In most cases, conforming to social norms is so natural that people aren't even aware they are doing it unless someone calls it to their attention or violates the norms.
Researchers have studied conformity using controlled experiments. The first classic experiment in conformity
was carried out in the 1930s by Muzafer Sherif. It made use of an optical illusion called the autokinetic phenomenonhe fact that a small stationary point of light in a darkened room will appear to move. The auto-kinetic phenomenon affects individuals...
(The entire section is 705 words.)
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