Conformity: Definition, Factors, Reasons & Impacts in Various Fields


Conformity: Definition, Factors, Reasons & Impacts in Various Fields



Conformity is one of the social influences that can change individuals to be more compatible with their social group. Social psychology figure Muzafer Sherif once conducted an experiment on conformity using the ray point experiment. When an individual looks at it alone, the point of light is perceived as stationary, but when viewed together with the group, the point is perceived as moving. Even though the point of light actually never moves and remains still, the group’s opinion has changed the opinion of individuals that it is as if the point is now moving (Suryanto in Maryam, 2018, p. 3).



This is what is called conformity, an individual can change his perception when he is in a social environment. For more details, here are some explanations of the notion of conformity according to other experts.


Definition of Conformity

Conformity is a type of social influence in which individuals change their attitudes and behavior to suit existing social norms (Baron & Byrne in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 1). Furthermore, according to Cialdini & Goldstein (in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 1) conformity is an activity carried out by individuals to change their behavior to match the responses of others. There is an individual desire to adjust his response to other people is one of human instincts as social beings who cannot live alone.


Myers even further (in Vatmawati, 2019) says that conformity is a change in behavior or beliefs that are the same as other people. This means that it is not only attitudes or responses that are changed, but can also affect one’s personal beliefs or beliefs. Conformity is not just acting according to the behavior of other people, but also means being influenced by how other people behave.



Conformity is a form of behavior similar to others that is driven by the individual’s own desires. The existence of conformity behavior can be seen from changes in behavior and beliefs due to pressure from groups that demand the individual to behave the same as the group. The real form of conformity can be seen in the notion of conformity according to Sovitriana et al (2020) which states that conformity is an individual’s tendency to follow the opinions, directions, values, hobbies, hobbies or wishes of their peers.


It can be concluded that conformity is a type of social influence that can change an individual’s beliefs, attitudes, and behavior so that they conform to or are the same as the norms and values ​​of other people or the social group they are following.


Conformity and Social Norms

According to Brown (in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 1), pressure from the environment for individuals to conform basically comes from the fact that in some contexts there are rules, both explicit and implicit in nature. These rules then indicate how individuals should and should behave.



The rules governing how individuals should and should behave are called social norms (Brown in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 1). These rules also often have a strong effect on the behavior of individuals. Basically there are several types of social norms. However, there is one social norm that is closely related to conformity, namely the injunctive norm. Injunctive norms are a type of norms that tell individuals what should be done in certain situations.


Some examples of injunctive social norms are:


rules not to make noise while watching movies,

not speeding on village streets,

don’t stand too close to strangers, etc.

Injunctive norms are also referred to as norms that make people not care whether social norms are explicit or implicit but one fact is clear, namely that most people obey these norms almost all the time.


Everyone obeys these norms because there is a strong tendency towards this conformity, where individuals are expected to even be “forced” to be able to follow the wishes of society or certain groups regarding how they should act in various situations. However, in some cases this conformity can also be done by individuals on purpose to avoid conflict or social chaos.


Factors Affecting Conformity

In addition to norms, there are various other factors that affect individual conformity. Some of the factors that influence the conformity are as follows.


The influence of the people you like

People you like will have more influence. Their words and behavior tend to be followed or approved by others who like and are close to them.

Group cohesiveness

Group cohesiveness is often referred to as cohesiveness. The more cohesive a group is, the stronger its influence will be in shaping the mindset and behavior of group members.

Group size and social pressure

Conformity will increase as the number of group members increases. The larger the group, the greater the individual’s tendency to participate, although perhaps the individual will implement something different from what is actually desired.

Descriptive social norms and injunctive social norms

Descriptive norms are norms that only describe what most people do in a given situation. This norm will influence individual behavior by informing what is generally considered effective or adaptive to that particular situation. Meanwhile, injunctive norms will influence individuals in determining what should be done and what behavior is acceptable and not acceptable in certain situations (Brown in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 3).

Reasons to Do or Refuse Conformity

There are several reasons put forward by individuals when they choose to do or refuse conformity. According to Brown (in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 4) several reasons why individuals choose to conform are as follows.


The desire to be liked

As a result of internalization and learning processes in childhood, many individuals conform to help them get agreement with many people. Approval is needed for individuals to get credit. Because basically many people like praise, many people try to conform with the situation.

Fear of rejection

Conformity is important so that individuals gain acceptance from certain groups or environments. If individuals have different views and behaviors then they will be considered as not belonging to the group and the environment.

The desire to feel right

Many circumstances cause individuals to be in a dilemma position because they are unable to make decisions. If there are other people in the group or groups who are able to make decisions that they feel are right, then they will participate so that they are considered right.

Cognitive consequences

Many individuals think conformity is a cognitive consequence of their membership of the group and the environment in which they find themselves.

Meanwhile, the reasons why individuals do not conform include the following.



Deindividuation occurs when individuals want to be distinguished from others. Individuals will refuse conform because they do not want to be considered the same as others.

Feel to be a free person

Individuals also refuse to conform because they do not want to conform. According to him, there is nothing that can force him to follow existing social norms (Brown in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 4).

The Effect of Conformity on Various Aspects

Conformity is a problem or rather a social influence that is widely studied by various fields at the same time because it has a big influence. For example, the field of education pays attention to conformity because it finds this a great opportunity to be used as an educational method or model that makes peer or peer learning more effective.


Thus, it can be seen that conformist behavior by individuals is often related to several other specific things. Some of the correlations of conformity with other things include the following.


1. Cultural Diversity

The tendency to conform will be lower in cultures that emphasize individuality or individualist cultures than cultures that emphasize group membership or collectivist cultures. Jiang, Bong, and Kim’s study (2015 in Mulyadi, 2016, p. 5) in South Korea found that a collectivist culture that promotes togetherness strengthens conformity in students so as to provide a positive perception of strong social support from friends and teachers thereby increasing academic achievement. .


2. Education

In the field of educational psychology, peer group conformity is related to achievement motivation in late adolescence (Sari in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 5). Other interesting findings also reveal that peer conformity in final year high school students has an influence on the choice of majors in college (Priastuti, Pratiwi, & Supriyono in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 5).


3. Aggressiveness

In certain social situations, group cohesiveness can strengthen group aggressiveness so that it triggers the emergence of certain behaviors. Simangunsong’s study (in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 5) states that conformity is related to group aggressive behavior such as brawls where social norms are typical of groups that perceive brawls as something normative and considered group truth. Brawl behavior is dominated by teenagers or adult men as the perpetrators.


Furthermore, Sears’ research (in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 6) found that issues of masculinity ideology often encourage group conformity consisting of 6 men to engage in aggression. Meanwhile, another interesting study by Apriliawati (in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 6) also found that conformity and poor self-regulation affect aggressiveness on social media such as Facebook.


4. Economic Behavior

Conformity is related to several economic behaviors, especially in consumer behavior such as consumptive behavior in cosmetic products for young women (Zulfitriah in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 6). A very interesting study by Tsao, Hsieh, Shih, and Lin (2015 in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 6) found that the more positive reviews from hotel consumers who became testimonials on the hotel booking page, the stronger the incentive for consumers to book rooms from the hotel in question.


5. Deviant Behavior


Conformity is also related to premarital sex behavior where adolescents will engage in premarital sex behavior because of the principle of sexual achievement in their peer group (Rahardjo in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 6). Conformity also has links with other negative behaviors such as drinking behavior due to the influence of the surrounding environment (Sumarlin in Mulyadi et al, 2016, p. 6).

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