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"How Not to Conform or Be Persuaded" posted Feb 10, 2018


WE HAVE ALL BEEN PERSUADED IN VARYING DEGREES. However, Mark Twain stated, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” 

It is easy to not conform in groups that we do not identify. When conforming, we can find ourselves giving up more than we bargained for. Being a part of a group does not mean agreeing with every part of that group, we should always feel free to voice legitimate criticisms and opinions, whether among family, friends, social interest groups or whomever. When we do not do so, we give the group status, authority, and power over us.


In complying with the requests of others and/or by following their actions, we seek to maintain the goals of social influence.

Informative social influence (Goal of Accuracy)

People are motivated to achieve their goals in the most efficient and accurate manner possible. An individual needs to correctly interpret and react, particularly when faced with compliance-gaining attempts since an inaccurate behavior could result in great loss. Therefore, we seek “social proof.”

Normative social influence (Goal of Affiliation)

People are fundamentally motivated by the need to belong. The need for social approval through the maintenance of meaningful social relationships. This need motivates people to engage in behavior that will induce the approval of their peers. People are more likely to take actions to cultivate relationships with individuals they like and/or wish to gain approval from.

“One who walks in another's tracks leaves no footprints.”


Group Size - Larger groups usually increase the rate of conformity; in some cases, it decreases because there is a higher chance of different answers.

Unanimity - Conformity is more likely to happen when all people agree on an answer. If one disagrees, even if it is the incorrect answer, the participant is more likely to agree.

Confidence - When individuals feel that they are more competent to make decisions with regard to a field of expertise, they are less likely to conform.

Self-Esteem - Participants with high self- esteem are less likely to conform to incorrect responses


2390 PointsGold

LaTasha Russell, Psy.D.

/ Relationships Expert