Conformism - definition, types and examples

Conformity - Good or Bad? "Life is the art of compromise" - a well-known proverb that comes to mind when I think about conformism. Because although we associate it pejoratively (only with succumbing and changing our minds under the influence of others), each of us must be a bit conformist. How else can you live in harmony with others?

See the movie: "How can you help your toddler find himself in a new environment?"

1. Conformism - definition and types

The word "conformism" comes from Latin - "conformo" means "I give shape." Simply put, conformism is behavior change under the influence of other people. It is also adapting to the norms that prevail within a given group. But it is not just a negative term.

There are 3 types (depths) of conformism:

  1. Submission - a situation in which, despite having our own beliefs, we adopt the position of a given group with which we want to identify.

Compliance comes from pressure from the group. The individual succumbs to it, but when the group disappears, the person returns to his beliefs. It changes them only for a moment in order to be better perceived in the group, for fear of rejection or punishment for a different attitude.

  1. Identification - is a deeper form of conformism.

When you want to belong to a group, you start to act to fit in with it. We identify ourselves with the group to which we want to belong and we try to appeal to its members with our attitude so that they recognize us as "their own". If the members of the group change their mind, so do we.

  1. Introjection (or internalization) is the deepest form of conformism.

It is about accepting the rules, values ​​and norms of the group we want to belong to and recognizing them as our own.

2. Types of conformism

In social psychology, we distinguish:

  • static conformism, i.e. behavior consistent with the behavior of the group to which we belong,
  • dynamic conformism, where an individual changes his mind under the pressure of the group he wants to belong to.

In sociology, conformism is a way for an individual to adapt to a social group. The opposite of conformism is anti-conformism or non-conformism.

Conformity is influenced by:

  • personality of the individual,
  • uncertainty of the individual, complexes,
  • a great need for social approval,
  • type of social relations in the group,
  • group structure,
  • group size,
  • life in a team,
  • position in the group,
  • social control,
  • cultural conditions focused on collectivism.

3. Examples of conformism. Conformism and nonconformity

We already know what conformism is. We associate it mainly with the lack of one's opinion and submission to others, but is it so? Nothing could be more wrong. Sometimes we have to be conformists, because this is what is most advisable in some situations.

Working in a group or belonging to a team, if we follow the opinion of the majority, then the decision-making process will be faster and the work will move forward. Therefore, sometimes it is worth accepting what others say, of course, provided it is in line with our beliefs.

We've already talked about how conformism can be natural. When is this happening? Let us consider some examples:

  • You go to a new school or start a new job, you don't know how to behave, that's why you subconsciously behave like people who have been there before.
  • You come to the place where you are for the first time and you do not know how to behave, so you watch others just in case.
  • Everyone claps after the show. Though you are not entirely satisfied with what you see, you clap with them.

As you can see, conformism can be both positive and negative - when we succumb to others and lose ourselves to please the group.

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