Monday, May 12, 2008

Chosen Topic Research #1- Conformity

Conformity is a process by which people's beliefs or behaviors are influenced by others within a group. People can be influenced from subtle shocks, even unconcious processes, or by direct peer pressure. Conformity can have either good or bad effects on people, from driving safely on the right side of the road, to harmful drug or alcohol abuse.

Herbert Kelman is a psychologist that focuses on conformity. His work focuses on the importance of human dignity, and some biographical information and some of his research can be found here:

Solomon Asch also conducted an experiment in the 1950s, in which he used a puzzle to examine conformity. The subjects viewing the puzzle were seated among others, and they overall chose the most conforming answer rather than the right one. More information can be found on his experiment here:

Although conformity can be a good thing, constant conformity to societal rules without any thought can lead to lack of new ideas and concepts that could better society. Although I've noticed groups of people will say they're non-conformists, yet they still conform to a set of rules, they merely aren't the typical rules of the norm. Conforming to any group is still conforming. Having a bit of conformity is fine, as someone else's research could inspire the next someone else to create a new idea. Although "true" individuality may not exist, conformism doesn't need to be such an extreme.

This site describes the human need for conformity:

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