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

How Social Contagion Helps Explain Our Pet Choices

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 18, 2017 in Animals and Us
The craze for flat-faced dogs may have been produced by the same mob mentality that caused a wave of pet euthanasia in 1939.

Are Friends the Enemies of Wise Choices?

Could your friends be causing you to make bad choices? Avoid this problem with a few tips from this piece.

12 Ways of Seeing Your Entanglement With a Narcissist

Seeing patterns objectively—yours and the narcissist's—is as important as acknowledging your feelings.

Why Are We Doing This, Sir? What's The Point?

By Nick Luxmoore on August 12, 2017 in Young People Up Close
How to make sense of the adult world without having the identity of a traditional profession? How to develop a sense of personal agency in a world where the rules keep changing?

Keep on a Happy Face

Is feeling sad or depressed so socially unacceptable that we must pretend to be happy?

It's Not My Fault. The Millennial Answer to Everything!

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on August 09, 2017 in Motivate!
When things go awry, parents and leaders often cast blame, yet fail to take accountability for their decisions. Knowing why we shirk responsibility can lead to better outcomes.

Who Gets Our Stamp of Approval?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 06, 2017 in How To Do Life
We revere the wrong people.

My Life as an Unlikable Woman

By Jennifer Haupt on August 02, 2017 in One True Thing
Janelle Brown's characters do everything that she is afraid of doing herself.
Used by permission from Getty Images.

Why Be So Obnoxious at the Airport and on the Plane?

By Steve Albrecht DBA on August 01, 2017 in The Act of Violence
Can't we all just get along in the airport and on the plane?

What Should We Do About Irrational Politicians?

Why do some government decisions seem so irrational? A look into the psychological processes that produce dysfunctional policy decisions.

Are Friends the Enemies of Wise Choices?

Don't let your friends take you for a ride! Learn how to avoid letting them manipulate you into making bad decisions.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Facebook for Children?

Children believe that Facebook is a protected environment, but are they right?

The Life-Changing Magic of Going Your Own Way

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on July 09, 2017 in Living Single
Guest blogger Ellen Worthing watched all the kayaking couples go in one direction, and she went the other. It did not turn out the way any of them anticipated.

Evergreen College, the Rejection Complex, and Bullying

Evergreen State College was recently in turmoil. There were accusations of racism and bullying along with threats and a show of riot police. What's underneath the hysteria?
Uber Images/Shutterstock

Choosing Children’s Surnames

Conventionally, women take their husband’s surname, as do any children. But as married women increasingly retain their birth surnames, how do couples decide on children’s surnames?

Unsung

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 08, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short-short story about worth

The "Battered Voter" Syndrome

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on June 04, 2017 in BrainSnacks
The "battered spouse" syndrome has a counterpart in a "battered voter" syndrome, if people hold a dependent attachment to an "ideological package" inimical to their own interests.

Taking One's Cue from Others

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 31, 2017 in The Human Beast
All social animals are affected by what others around them are doing. Humans are no exception.

Is Hair Down There Going, Going, Gone?

An increasingly large majority of American women (84 percent) and men (51 percent) now trim, shape, or completely shave their public hair. What, if anything, does this mean?

Dangers in Child Sex-tech Communications

Are you aware of developing communication technologies that your kids may engage that involving sexual content? Have you addressed with them strategies to avoid such exchanges?

To See Your Status Soar, Be More Curious

Next time you leave an algorithm to decide your choices, consider what this is doing to your curiosity quotient -- and why it matters.

Behave Yourself: Moral Behavior and Conformity

By Eyal Winter Ph.D. on May 27, 2017 in Feeling Smart
Should we induce our kids to conform?

Be the One

This is not a drill: As right-wing totalitarian governments try to take over the world, it's up to us to do something. Let's grab our capes.

The Science Behind Why People Follow the Crowd

By Rob Henderson on May 24, 2017 in After Service
You think you are in control of your own thoughts and behavior. But social psychology tells a different story.

How to Get Work Done in a Politically Charged Office

Read these tips to stay sane and productive while avoiding political dialogue.

Why Social Stigma Matters

Hate crimes are on the rise. New research helps to explain why.

Cat People and Dog People Do Have Different Personalities

Data shows that cat people are introverted and nonconforming but also creative, while dog people are warm, sociable and pragmatic.

The Struggle for Awe in a Robotic Age

The cry for awe—the humility and wonder, and the sense of adventure toward living—in an age of devices and programming.

I Thought I Was Damaged Goods!

Why don't many patients treat what they can? Why don't some doctors notice that patients feel hopeless when they shouldn't and guilty when they are aren't?

Finding Meaning After Losing Faith

Young people who question everything may be born into communities that insist it is wrong to doubt their religion. Here's the story of one who got away and found his own meaning.