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Conformity occurs from social influence, which involves a change in behavior or thought in order to fit in with a group (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004). The shift is brought about by either imagined or real group pressure.
Conformity is also regarded as majority influence, indicating agreement with the majority's position (Bocchiaro & Zamperini, 2012). The want to be liked or fit in, which is normative, or the drive to be right or correct, which is informational, bring about the agreement.
The effects that other people have on us as a result of our drive to be correct give rise to informational social influence. In this case, one is more likely to conform to the influences of others especially when the confidence of personal judgment exists (Cialdini et al., 2004). The group that triggers pressure on a person in the context of informational social influence is well informed.
Normative social influence arises from the influence that others have on us since we desire to make them like us. In this case, conformity emerges when a person strives towards being accepted into an enviable group (Bocchiaro et al., 2012).
People conform to normative influence due to fear of rejection by a group. Since the person strives to be liked by others, there is the need for compliance (Cialdini et al., 2004). Compliance enables the individual to publicly accept the perspectives of a group although he or she rejects those perspectives at a private level.
People conform to informational social influence due to an ambiguous or unclear situation. In this case, a person's intention is to compare behavior with those in the desired group (Bocchiaro et al., 2012). Informational social influence entails internalization whereby a person gains acceptance of the views of those in the group and implements them as an individual.
Bocchiaro, P., & Zamperini, A. (2012). Conformity, Obedience, Disobedience: The Power of the Situation. In Psychology-Selected Papers. InTech.
Cialdini, R. B., & Goldstein, N. J. (2004). Social Influence: Compliance and Conformity. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 55, 591-621.
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