Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity

There seems to be some "ideal" middle ground between being too like others and too distinct from them that people prefer. People try to boost their social acceptability when they feel too distinct from others, but they want to stand out when they feel too identical. Studies have shown that individuals with low levels of self are more inclined to comply than their more confident counterparts. People with poor self-esteem have a larger desire to feel like they belong. Thus it seems reasonable that they would value social acceptance more. People who rely on others and have an intense need for praise.

Explaining Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity

We all tend to follow the crowd regarding style, music taste, cuisine, and entertainment. Our friends, family, and co-workers influence how we think about and behave on political topics, religious matters, and our personal choices. The company we keep may significantly impact our propensity to partake in potentially harmful activities like smoking and heavy drinking. Conformity is the psychological term describing the human desire to behave and think similarly to those around us

Procedures of the Mind that Lead to Conformity

Despite our attention to situational variables of conformity, like the size of the plurality and their agreement, we still need to address the topic of who is more inclined to conform and who is less likely to do so. Here, we will examine the role of individual characteristics, sex, and background in shaping conformity.

Individual Variation

Individuals in their twenties and thirties are more resistant to persuasion than those in their forties and fifties. Regarding conformity, those who strongly connect with the group generating it are just as likely to conform as those who do not care about fitting in. While individuals vary in their propensity to conform, studies have shown that situational factors, such as the size and consensus of the majority, have a far greater effect.

Differences Between the Species

This suggests that males, at least while being watched by others, are more inclined to stick to their principles, act independently, and resist conformity. In contrast, women are more willing to submit to the beliefs of others to avoid social disputes. When conformity happens behind closed doors, these distinctions are less noticeable. Social reasons exist for the observed gender disparities in conformity, such as the fact that women are taught to care more about the wishes of others. In contrast, males may be more prone to oppose conformity to show women that they make excellent partners.

Distinct Cultural Norms

More collectivistic nations had more compliance than individualistic ones. We got curious as to whether mainstream American and Korean publications placed more of an emphasis on following the crowd vs. standing out. We can observe that uniformity is a major subject in most Korean advertisements. Seven out of ten individuals buy this product; while the impacts of individual variations on compliance tend to be lower than those in the social setting, these variances do matter. Cultural and gender norms also have a role. Like many other social and mental factors, conformity results from a two-way exchange between an individual and their environment.

Reactions in the Mind

The members of the group and the organization may both benefit from conformity. Adapting to the views of others may improve our lives and the lives of others around us by presenting us with accurate and useful information. Effective leaders inspire their followers to achieve results that would be impossible without their guidance. Moreover, half the residents of your neighborhood believed it was okay to wait for the light to change before proceeding. In contrast, the other half believed the reverse and acted accordingly; there would be serious issues. Despite this, the results of social influence are only sometimes predictable. The option to comply increases the likelihood that we will do so, whether our goals are social acceptance or the acquisition of reliable information. However, the influence strain may backfire and have the opposite effect on the influence if we think that the influencer is attempting to compel or control our conduct.

Extreme Constraints

Scientists experimented to see if they could get people to cease spray painting the stall walls in college washrooms. A sign reading "Do not draw on these boards under any circumstances!" was hung in some stalls, while a sign reading "Please do not write on these walls" was hung in others. Two weeks after placing the placards, the researchers checked their effectiveness. In contrast to the first restroom, they discovered far less vandalism in the second. More resistance was shown from individuals subjected to greater demands to abstain from the conduct than those given less forceful commands. People may suffer internal conflict when they believe an external force is compromising their independence, yet they possess the resources to reject that influence.

Reaction Means Freedom Restoration

Reactance represents a desire to restore the freedom that is being threatened. A child who feels that his or her parents are forcing him or her to eat his or her asparagus may react vehemently with a strong refusal to touch the plate. Furthermore, an adult who feels that a car sales representative is pressuring her might feel the same way and leave the showroom entirely, resulting in the opposite of the sales rep's intended outcome. Of course, parents are sometimes aware of this potential and even use "reverse psychology"—for example, telling a child that they cannot go outside when they want the child to do so, hoping that reactance will occur. In the musical The Fantasticks, neighboring fathers set up to make the daughter of one of them and the son of the other fall in love by building a fence between their properties. The children see the fence as an infringement on their freedom to see each other, and as predicted by the idea of reactance, they ultimately fall in love.


It seems sensible to assume that compliance with stereotypical gender roles for women affects various aspects of daily living. These findings suggest that gender role conformance may affect how women share their lives with others and their alcohol and cigarette habits. Gender roles must be considered as a further component to comprehend the inherent complexity of the factors influencing how individuals prioritize their lives. Public health agencies should pay close attention to gender-related characteristics to create and execute tailored prevention programs for harmful behaviors like tobacco and alcohol use. In addition, the notion that changing gender roles may reshape our society's social structures has crucial consequences for individual households' composition, distribution, and demands.