The Pull of the Crowd
Conformity is the tendency to align our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those around us. 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. Conformity is often motivated by our identification with a specific group. In order to be truly accepted as a member of the group, we must adopt the group norms, or the unspoken set of rules that governs their behavior. When we conform, we outwardly agree with the group consensus, though it may differ from our own personal views. In time, our beliefs and attitudes may begin to shift as we take on the same behaviors and opinions as the rest of our group.