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Social Norms Definition

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Discuss the influence of social or group norms on behavior According to research, a wide range of social, environmental, cognitive, cultural and biological factors can influence behavior. In this paper, I will discuss the influence of social norms on behavior using my own personal experience and how I conformed to social norms in my adolescent years up until my late twenties. Influence of social groups on behavior can have both negative and positive impact. As defined by Oxford publication 2014, Social norms are the “rules or standards of behavior shared by members of a social group”. This means a group of people who share the same beliefs and opinions whether it be customs, traditions, value or maybe even fashion. I have experienced first…show more content…
A lot of us give in to social influence so as to feel belonged and loved or because it unconsciously promotes our self-esteem and confidence within us. In Abraham Maslow’s theory of Hierarchy of needs, he states that the love and belonging needs, also known as social needs, include a desire to belong, be loved, and to feel accepted, and not to be lonely. He also states that they have a need to be respected, valued by other people and have a sense that they are contributing to the world. (Kleinman, P. (2012). Psych 101: psychology facts, basics, statistics, tests, and more. Avon, Mass.: Adams…show more content…
For example, teenagers conform to certain behaviors that are a result of peer pressure so as to fit in or to gain acceptance by their peers. Conformity occurs for two main reasons. Either because people want to fit in – this is known as normative influence - or because of informational influence. (Kleinman, P. (2012). Psych 101: psychology facts, basics, statistics, tests, and more. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media). This is supported by an experiment that Solomon Asch had carried out in 1951. His conformity experiment concluded that people would conform so as to not feel left out. Both types of influence had a powerful impact on individuals within a group setting. In the same context, I conformed by wearing jeans everyday to school so as to fit in with the majority. As a result my behavior became dishonest and I carried a certain amount of guilt as I knew what I was doing was wrong given the fact that my parents would not have approved of what I was doing. Gaining acceptance makes a person feel confident, loved and belonged. Gaining acceptance was important for me as in the past, I had watched the minority of people, who did not conform to peer pressure, get bullied in a school setting. They were ostracized from the rest of the group and made to feel like outcasts. Peers (such as friends) can also be effective messengers, as they tend to be people we respect and trust. This
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