It is important to know how does society influence you in daily life. So, let’s understand the meaning of social influence and how social influences shape your behavior. It will also help you to know why are you influenced by others. When an individual adjusts his behavior to meet the demands of a social group it is termed social influence. Continue reading the article to know about it in detail.
1. Why are You influenced by Others?Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels
You are influenced by others because some people have a natural quality to influence people around them. This influence may increase your chance for success so you may be attracted to them. But how does society influence you? The people who influence you are generally the researchers and employees. These people can command responses in favor of the people around them since they are highly influential and smart. This is why you are influenced by others. When you know the meaning of social influence you may realize that true influences are built by helping and serving others to achieve their goals. (See What is the purpose of society?)
2. How do Others Influence your Behavior?
The people around us provide opportunities for connection, socialization, support, and a sense of identity. How does society influence you and your behavior? They affect our behavior positively through friendship and advice which is the heart of our social life. However, others also affect our behavior negatively by expecting us to follow their values and norms. They can also lead to isolation and shame by giving judgments. Hence, our community can affect positively as well as negatively depending on the situation. So, it is important to be mindful of the influences on our behavior by others.
The various ways in which others can influence our behavior are:
- Compliance: This is when we follow what others say even if we don’t agree with it only to gain their acceptance.
- Conformity: This is when our actions and opinions are not the same as that of others but we often change them to fit with them.
- Cooperation: To work with others who share similar goals you can cooperate with and form a team that can have a positive impact on your behavior.
- Groupthink: When the members of a group are committed to particular goals it usually results in poor decision-making.
3. What is the Meaning of Social Influence?
The change in individuals’ emotions, thoughts, and behavior caused by others to meet the demands of a social group is called social influence. For example,
- An individual’s, thinking is inspired by music.
- Students cannot express themselves in class because of the presence of others.
- A recruit purchases a similar uniform as others.
- You learn a new language other than your native language that changes your way of thinking.
- You may drink at a party due to pressure.
- You may be inspired by a storyteller so you adopt some mannerisms from a film character.
So, these are some examples of how social influence can affect you. (See How can You be a Good Citizen in Your Country?)
4. What are Types of Social Influence?
The most common type of social influence is:
- Imitation: Imitation can have both sides good as well as bad. For example, if you watch someone behaving aggressively in a movie you may develop aggression while if you watch a shy person interacting and playing with peers in a movie you may do the same and overcome your social anxiety. This is not the same as social learning but it means acquiring a change or a new behavior by imitating others after watching them.
- Conformity: When the behavior of an individual and the way of thinking changes in line with the group norms, such as principle, is called conformity. Conformity is of two varieties, normative and informative where normative influence is when the person follows the norms of a social group while informative is when a group is better informed about a belief.
- Obedience: This social influence comes from authorities. For example in the presence of legitimate authorities, people are more obedient.
5. Why is Social Influence Important?
Social influence is important because big impacts can be made easily. Social influence can have a positive as well as a negative impact on an individual. It changes the way an individual thinks which is why it is important. Let us understand this with the help of examples. Social influence can be helpful to you in motivating you to start a business or get into a college. It can affect some in a way that you indulge in criminal activity. (See How can individuals contribute to bringing change in society)
6. What are Examples of Social Influences?
Examples of social influence are:
- Authority, conformity, following celebrities, endorsements,
- Creativity, tension, bullying, brand recognition,
- Appeal to logic, appeal to emotion, culture, debate, fear,
- Direct messages, disinformation group, harmony group,
- Identification, imitation, labeling, leadership,
- Manipulation, obedience, norms, peer pressure, public speaking,
- Rumors, signaling, reactance, propaganda,
- Social construction, social change, social conflict, social media,
- Social institutions, social relationships, subcultures, traditions, storytelling, and many others.
7. How does Society Influence You?
Society can influence your character, behavior, and attitude and play a huge role in molding you. Your general outlook towards people is determined by the ethics of society. So, let’s see how does society influence you? All the things that stick with you for a long haul are learned from society. Sometimes your decisions may be influenced by society as you may give more weightage to your decision depending on the behavior of society. Hence, society can influence your language, social skills, communication, and behavior through intentional or unintentional efforts. (See Which is an Internal Influence on Physical Activity?)
8. How can Social Influence be Positive?Photo by Emma Bauso on Pexels
Social influence can be positive, take a look at the following to know how does society influence you in a positive way:
- When you can understand the navigation of your way through troughs and peaks with optimism.
- You are honest about your own emotions and do not blame others for the way you feel.
- You practice what you preach to others in real life. This way you can inspire others at work.
- You don’t try to be right always because it can cause pain along the way therefore, you keep learning a bigger priority than being right.
- You are grateful for what you have.
- You are happy in a million ways.
9. How Social Influences Shape your Behavior?
Human beings are socially influenced. As you have already read how does society influence you so now let’s see how social influences shape your behavior. When a large number of people gather and engage the collective behavior of a human is affected and influenced. This may sometimes cause peer pressure but adolescents are vulnerable to collective behavior. Social groups based on religion forbid promoting behaviors based on religious customs. A person’s childhood and adult behavior is also affected by the family’s interaction for a lifetime. This is how and why are you influenced by others. (See How peer pressure may influence an individual?)
10. How does Culture Influence Who You are?
Culture defines the way of life you live, hence it has an impact on your behavior and actions. Culture includes the beliefs, social ethics, and morals followed by society. From your appearance to your beliefs and eating habits, culture defines you entirely and affects your behavior. There are many other ways in which you can be influenced by culture. For example, some people may react based on the cultural background of a certain situation which might not be appropriate. (Also read What are the Elements of Culture in Sociology?)