Social Psychological Concept Normative Social Influence Essay

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Social Psychological Concept

NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE

According to Changingminds.org (2010), normative social influence often concerns the need to belong to and be accepted by a social group. Indeed, as human beings, this type of belonging is a fundamental need. This tendency is closely connected to an evolutionary drive for survival. Human tribes tended to survive in greater numbers if the group norm were accepted.

Today, however, such conformity is no longer a concrete need for survival. Still, it remains true that often, by conforming to the norms and values of a group, human beings ensure their social survival. To confirm this view, any social setting can be observed, including churches, schools, and the workplace. The very concepts of culture, values and norms rely upon the human need to conform for their own survival in the world.

According to Changingminds.org (2010), some conform simply to avoid looking foolish. This is indeed a form of longing for acceptance. This desire is however stronger when there is mutual love and respect among the members of a group.

This will happen even when we are in a group of complete strangers. We will go along with the others to avoid looking like a fool. However the forces are strongest when we care most about respect and love from others in the group. Thus families and friends can apply very strong normative influence.

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According to McLeod (2007), normative conformity entails yielding to group pressure as a result of the desire to fit in on the one hand, and the fear of rejection on the other. Such conformity can also be only superficial, where a person publicly accepts the norms of group, but privately rejects them. Oppressive political systems are an example of this.

Those with low self-esteem tend to conform to the group more easily as a result of normative pressure, rather than as a result of a sincere desire to do so (Lord, Lee, & Chung,

2001).

II. OBSERVATIONAL STUDY: DESCRIPTION

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