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January 17, 2020

Social Influences : Conformity Bias

Conformity Bias

Consider that you are attending a meeting where the leader talk about the vision of the organization. You are not feeling good about it and you don’t believe in this new vision. When he finishes his presentation, everyone starts applauding, what will you do?

Consider the same example, if everyone stand up and start applauding, what will you do?

Do you try to follow the rest of the gang or do you do sit down in disagreement?

Watch this interesting video about how conformity works,


Conformity: Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. It is the tendency to align your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those around you. 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 classified broadly as, Normative Conformity and Informational Conformity.

Normative Conformity

  •  Yielding to group pressure because a person wants to fit in with the group. E.g. Line Study by Ash. https://youtu.be/oMyXFql-KhM
  • Conforming because the person is scared of being rejected by the group.
  • This type of conformity usually involves compliance – where a person publicly accepts the views of a group but privately rejects them.

 Informational Conformity

  •  This usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for guidance.
  • Or when a person is in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation and socially compares their behavior with the group.
  • This type of conformity usually involves internalization – where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual.

What it means to me?

When we work with teams, as a leader you should be mindful about how conformity can tax the decision making. Now you can extrapolate this learning and understand why “poker planning” is done the way it is done.

Everyone has a tendency to find just the facts that fit their own preconceptions and pet theories, and dismiss the rest.” Do you recognize that?

References :

  • http://www.simplypsychology.org/conformity.html
  • http://www.simplypsychology.org/conformity.html

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