The Pull of Conformity

Conformity is the tendency to align your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those around you. It's a powerful force that can take the form of overt social pressure or subtler unconscious influence. As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals, the fact is that we're driven to fit in, and that usually means going with the flow.

Recent Posts on Conformity

Understanding the Internal World of Psychosis

By Ann Olson Psy.D. on September 02, 2015 in Theory and Psychopathology
For the psychotic individual to be understood, empathy regarding his emotional experience might make a significant difference in his psychopathology and his relationship with the world. It is possible to understand his emotion and his fear, his cognition—to an extent—and his obvious alienation. Ways to address this individual in therapy are discussed in this article.

Opinion Polls Reveal Dramatic Decline in Impact of the Bible

Opinion poll surveys representative of the general population began in Britain in 1937, with the launch of the British Institute of Public Opinion (later Gallup Poll), which first covered the Bible in a question in 1938: "What book of all you have read impressed you most?" The Bible was mentioned by 16% of interviewees.

The Disposable Person—Being Unvalued in the Modern Age

Do you ever get the funny feeling that something isn't right? Not to make trouble or anything—but maybe you are right. Do you feel like you’re in a state of chronic interview, a cog in the system, a rat the race, and that seemingly significant people in your life—in romance and at work—may not care about you as a human being? Here's why...

Can You Lose Your Eyesight for Psychological Reasons?

What is referred to as 'medically unexplained visual loss' or non-organic visual loss (NOVL), is reported to occur in 1 to 5% of patients attending ophthalmology clinics. In many cases it continues without improvement for an extended period.

Plot a Coup Against the Status Quo

By Jake Breeden on August 16, 2015 in Tipping Sacred Cows
It’s hard to change your company’s culture, in part, because it’s hard to see how the culture works to preserve itself.

Countering Sad Politically Incorrect Syndrome

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 in How To Do Life
Being out of step with the times can be dispiriting and tough to cure.

Why Monogamy Isn't

This blog explores some of the current cultural expressions of monogamy including hookup culture, serial monogamy, and the many new ways people can find access to cheating online. While monogamy is still the dominant cultural form, it is not inherently good in all instances. Monogamy is as open to flaws as are other forms of relationship.

The Cult of Barre

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on August 04, 2015 in Millennial Media
The fusion of yoga, pilates, and ballet in one sounds may sound enticing...but the reality can be less than desirable.

Confirmation Bias and Stigma

Confirmation bias confirms not only expectations about the percept, but also those relating to the kind of world we live in and our role in it.

Multiculturalism Around the World

By Eddy Ng Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Diverse and Competitive
Countries that embrace multiculturalism experience more positive outcomes

Confluence

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 20, 2015 in On Having Fun
Confluence - the force that draws us together

Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment

A review of the Stanford Prison Experiment, out in wide release this weekend. Does the film bring anything new to Zimbardo's infamous study?

Tongue-Tied: The Cost Of Silence

By Katherine Preston on July 01, 2015 in Out With It
What Orange Is The New Black and Humans of New York teach us about the sadness of choosing to be silent.

5 Tips for Taming the #MeanScreens and Your Child

Rude and difficult teenagers may be simply practicing the skills their parents have allowed to take root. If a child grows up interacting in a private, virtual world more often than interacting one-on-one with family, a whole slew of social skills and social learning will be missed.

Facebook Rainbows

Rainbow colored Facebook images could help in some way to alter views towards homosexuality. At the very least, it shows support for a group of individuals who have been marginalized and made to feel less than for far too long. And I can imagine that that - even in such a small gesture as a colored profile pic- feels incredible.

The Most Overlooked Reason To Commit

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
You can't tell what a compromise will cost until you commit to it and start figuring out how to make it cost less.

#Love Wins . . . Marriage Equality Is for Real

It's about love and equality. That's about as simple as it can get.

Can a White Person Become Black?

People all over the nation were shocked to learn about the curious case of Rachel Dolezal, former head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane who self-identifies as a Black woman, even though her biological parents are White. What is the psychology behind race switching and our reaction to it?

Tattooing Buidings

Graffiti and tagging tell us both about the people who do it and what they do it to.

Room Rights in Adolescence

Parents need to respect the adolescent room for the many personal functions it can provide; the adolescent needs to respect parental needs for that room to fit into what they want in a family home. This is an accommodation that must be made.

How We Use Shame (and Why We Should)

By Joseph Burgo Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in Shame
In different ways, the religious right and the liberal left both make use of shame to enforce their values.

Tattoos: Rebellion or Conformity?

There has been a remarkable and relatively sudden increase in the number of people with tattoos in western society. If the trend continues, more than a half of people will be tattooed. Why?

A Lesson From Junior High Exile

By Kaja Perina on May 14, 2015 in Brainstorm
The inner voice is both symptom and salve, partly indicating what you believe about yourself and partly indoctrinating you into a way of thinking, as I discovered in a middle school library long ago.

The Truth About What We'll Do To Fit In

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 14, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
People tend to do what the people around them are doing. Walk onto an elevator, and most everyone stands facing forward. People talking to each other tend to match their speech rate and even the pitch of their voices. The judgments made by a group also tend to converge.

A Contrast to Psychiatry: The ‘Hearing Voices’ Movement

Those opposed to classical psychiatric models claim that hearing voices may be a normal part of the human experience and that the diagnosis of schizophrenia may be unfounded.

Break the Self-Betrayal Habit

By Kimberly Key on May 12, 2015 in Counseling Keys
People generally fear the disapproval of others—society, family, a first crush, bullies, or fear being different and alone. To compensate, sometimes people will work harder to acquire money and possessions, sex, love, food, alcohol, drugs, constant relocating and starting over, and/or isolating. Here is what you can do to identify and heal the source so many bad habits.

How The Media Betrays Public Trust

By Donna Flagg on May 11, 2015 in Office Diaries
Have you ever been duped by an Astroturfing campaign?

Why We Care So Much About What Others Think of Us

By Peg Streep on May 05, 2015 in Tech Support
Are we hardwired to crave status and to respond to people in programmed ways depending on their status? Is status about what money can buy or something else? A close look at what the research shows...

Tattoos and Identity

A website urges you to tattoo a song lyric on "your skin and soul." What's going on?

How Can We Scale-Up the Education of Innovators?

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on May 01, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
We spend billions of dollars to ask: How can we learn to be innovative and entrepreneurial? If we believe we need more innovators, how might our approach to education need to be changed? How do we know what students learn? Is the ability to innovate more of a creative art or disciplined engineering? What if we had an Artificial Intelligence Mentor? How might that work?