Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. Norms are implicit, unsaid rules shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others and among society or social group. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity can occur in the presence of others, or when an individual is alone. For example, people tend to follow social norms when eating or watching television, even when alone.
People often conform from a desire for security within a group—typically a group of a similar age, culture, religion, or educational status. This is often referred to as groupthink: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics, which ignores realistic appraisal of other courses of action. Unwillingness to conform carries the risk of social rejection. Conformity is often associated with adolescence and youth culture, but strongly affects humans of all ages.
Although peer pressure may manifest negatively, conformity can have good or bad effects depending on the situation. Driving on the correct side of the road could be seen as beneficial conformity. With the right environmental influence, conforming, in early childhood years, allows one learn and thus, adopt the appropriate behaviours necessary to interact and develop correctly within one's society. Conformity influences formation and maintenance of social norms, and helps societies function smoothly and predictably via the self-elimination of behaviors seen as contrary to unwritten rules. In this sense it can be perceived as (though not proven to be) a positive force that prevents acts that are perceptually disruptive or dangerous.
As conformity is a group phenomenon, factors such as group size, unanimity, cohesion, status, prior commitment, and public opinion help determine the level of conformity an individual displays.
Other articles related to "conformity":
... became a public entity with the promulgation of the Accreditation for Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice Act (Act 19 of 2006) ... The Accreditation for Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice Act, 2006 (Act 19 of 2006) – The requirements of the international ...
... Following their claim that conformity isn't something perpetuated by mainstream media, Potter and Heath identify other sources of conformity using work from Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques ... They describe conformity as often the byproduct of simple market preferences or, alternatively, as an attempt to resolve a collective action problem ... Not surprisingly, then, the image of rebelliousness or non-conformity has long been a selling point for many products, especially those that begin as 'alte ...
... dynamic leading to delinquency, but introduced the concept of "stakes in conformity" to explain "candidacy" for such learning experiences ... But the young who had few stakes or investments in conformity were more likely to be drawn into gang activity ... The notion of "stakes in conformity" fits very well with concepts invoked in later versions of social control theory ...
... Multiple studies have correlated childhood gender non-conformity with eventual gay/bisexual and transgender outcomes ... divided on the proper response to childhood gender non-conformity ... One study suggested that childhood gender non-conformity is heritable ...
Famous quotes containing the word conformity:
“... the self respect of individuals ought to make them demand of their leaders conformity with an agreed-upon code of ethics and moral conduct.”
—Mary Barnett Gilson (1877?)
“It is not a certain conformity of manners that the painting of Van Gogh attacks, but rather the conformity of institutions themselves. And even external nature, with her climates, her tides, and her equinoctial storms, cannot, after van Goghs stay upon earth, maintain the same gravitation.”
—Antonin Artaud (18961948)
“In a famous Middletown study of Muncie, Indiana, in 1924, mothers were asked to rank the qualities they most desire in their children. At the top of the list were conformity and strict obedience. More than fifty years later, when the Middletown survey was replicated, mothers placed autonomy and independence first. The healthiest parenting probably promotes a balance of these qualities in children.”
—Richard Louv (20th century)