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Social Influences on Behavior Paper

Social Influences on Behavior Mary Jane Doe University of Phoenix Course Instructor Date Introduction A popular remark by novelist Herman Merville , states that “We cannot live for ourselves alone , for our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads ‘ Social psychologists explore human interaction by scientifically studying how human behavior changes based on social situations . This is especially when the unexpected occurs , we analyze and discuss why people act as they do . In everyday life we do the same . Does her warmth reflect romantic interest in me , or is that how she relates to everyone ? Does his absenteeism signify laziness or an oppressive work atmosphere ?Social Influences on Behavior This essay examines basic concepts of human interaction from a psychology perspective . In this examination , two examples of how human behavior changes based on social situation are described . Behavior is contagious . One person giggles , coughs , or yawns , and others in the group are soon doing the same . A cluster of people stands gazing upward ,and passersby pause to do likewise . Laughter , even canned laughter , can be infectious . Bartenders and street musicians know to “seed ‘ their tip cups with money that suggests that others have given . This suggestibility is a subtle type of conformity .Conformity involves adjusting our thinking and behavior to bring it into line with some group standard . But why do people comply with this social influence ? Why do we clap when others clap , eat as others eat ,believe what others believe , even see what others see ? Frequently , it is to avoid rejection or to gain social approval . In such cases , we are responding to what social psychologists call normative social influence . W are sensitive to social norms – understood rules for accepted and expected behavior- because the price we pay for being different may be severe (Asch , 1995 . Take for example the case of the famous Italian basketball player , Marco Lokar . During the 1991 Persian Gulf War , he was the only Seton Hall University basketball player who chose not to display an American flag on his uniform . When , as the team traveled about , the fan abuse over his nonconforming behavior became unbearable ,he quit the team and returned to Italy .But there is another reason : We may conform because the group can provide valuable information . When we accept others` opinions about reality , we are responding to informational social influence . “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love the truth ‘ observed Joseph Joubert , a French essayist . But a conforming behavior does not necessitate therapeutic intervention .As these reasons for conformity suggest , social influence can be either constructive or destructive . When influence supports that we approve ,then we applaud those who are “open-minded ‘ and “sensitive ‘ enough to be “responsive ‘ When influence supports what we disapprove , then we scorn the “submissive conformity ‘ of those who comply with others` wishes . Conformity is associated by such group phenomena as group think , minority influence , group polarization and social facilitation .Further , conformity studies reveal that conformity increases when (1 )We are made to…

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