How do groups influence our behaviour?
Groups and individuals exert influence on us which may force us to change our behaviours in a particular direction. Group influence our behaviour by the method of ‘social influence’ which means getting influenced by the imagined presence of other people. Throughout the day we may encounter a
number of situations where others have tried to influence our and make us think in ways they want.Social influence is a part of our life. In some situations, social influence on us is very strong as a result of which we tend to do things which we otherwise would have not done. On other occasions, we are able to defy influence of others and may even influence them to adopt our own viewpoint.
There are three important group influence processes, i.e. conformity, compliance and obedience.
1. Conformity :- It means behaving according to the group norm, i.e. the expectations of other group members. Persons who do not conform (called ‘deviants’ or ‘non-conformists’) get noticed more than those who do conform.
2. Compliance :- In this, there are external conditions that force the individual to accept the influence of the significant other. Compliance also refers to behaving in a particular way in response to a request made by someone. It could take place even without a norm.
3. Obedience :- A distinguishing feature of obedience is that such behaviour is a response to a person in authority. The presence of an authority figure immediately makes this behaviour different from conformity.
For instance, you may stop talking loudly in the classroom when the teacher asks you to keep quiet, but not when your classmate tells you to do the same thing.