Conformity And Social Influence Course Work Example

Published: 2021-06-22 00:45:41
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Cultural aspects within the pretext of social influence vary from one place to another. As such, people hold different perceptions with regard to the suitability of any specific culture. However, there are some cultural practices which are likely to match. The probable conforming cultures have comparable characteristics. The comparability aspect makes them easily adaptable by groups of people. The fact that more people can respond to a practice in a relatively similar manner may lead to cultic tendencies. Most people are able to adjust to foreign cultural practices to some extent.

Social influencing is however a common scenario in many societies. Social influencing in reference to environmental conditions involves the presence of processes which are generally aimed at tempting socio-cultural changes in people. This is usually done through various means including obeying express orders, compliance or complying with existing norms. The changes in individual behaviors are usually gradual and it is as a consequence of actual or imagined influence form another human being or a group of individuals. Conformation has a connotation of acting contrary to one’s thoughts because a group of people are behaving that way. Further, the international interactions may lead to people moving to different environments thus new interactions are often necessitated which may be achieved willingly or through duress (Takano, 2008).

As regards the foregoing, cultures that are likely to conform possess characteristics which include submission, norm consistency, express commands and acquiescence. These characteristics separately or jointly lead to conformity. Consequently, variables such as unanimity, cohesiveness of a group and low self esteem play a major role in enhancing conformity. Further, individualism or collectivism in terms of awareness may have a positive or a negative influence to conformity. To this, secretive awareness would not positively influence conformity while the opposite is true (Schmitt, 2007).

Social conditions in reference to conformity can be explained in terms of the level of influence that an individual has in a specific social circumstance. Subsequently the bigger the group the higher the level of influence it has in relation to status and power. Further, the socioeconomic factor may be in the form of reward. This is where a person conforms to a practice in order to reap economic benefits.

The members of the Heaven's Gate exhibit obedience through their practices. This was apparent in their taking of own lives in accomplishment of their faith that they would be taken for a trip to space. As was the case in the Heaven’s gate scenario, the ultimate goal of the cult which is to do away with all resistance elements from every member to ensure obedience had been accomplished. As such, there was no resistance from any member in taking their own lives. In accordance with the abovementioned, a cult leader demonstrates referent power. This power enables a cult leader to command respect and obedience through their impressive ability to lure and persuade other cult members.

Cult leaders usually possess a higher social power as regards the other members of a cult. This is precisely because he has the power to determine issues for the other members whose duty is to obey regardless of the consequences. As such, what a cult leader declares become a reality to each member since it is believed that each decision is supposed to benefit the entire group. All the decisions in a cult are therefore made in a very open manner.


Schmitt, D., Allik, J., McCrae, R., Benet-Martínez, V. (2007). The geographic distribution
of big five personality traits: Patterns and profiles of human self-description across 56 nations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(2), 173–212.
Shiraev, B., Levy, D., (2009). Cross-Cultural Psychology: Critical Thinking and
Contemporary Applications (4th Edition). Boston. Allyn & Bacon. Print.
Takano, Y., and Sogon, S. (2008). Are Japanese more collectivistic than Americans?
Examining conformity in in-groups and the reference-group effect. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39(3), 237–250.

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