Jenna Soto English 4Goins11 December 2017Colors Fading From the World Uniqueness is a premium. We are living in a world where many let their colors fade, leaving them colorless and devoid of individuality. I have a burning question; how did these people become this way? Is this a conscious decision, or did experiences chip away at their emotional edges and features? I want to explore why people like following the masses. Through countless hours of research, I have found that politics, cultures, and trends are the biggest influences on conformity through social media sources. These broad topics significantly affect the world around us and the behaviors possessed by people. Described by Oxford Dictionary, conformity is most simply, the “compliance to rules, standards, or laws.” However, through the psychological point of view, conformity has been researched further in depth, breaking down events as a specific type of conformity. Herbert C. Kelman broke down conformity into three different branches: compliance, internalisation, and identification. Furthermore, compliance is focused on group acceptance, internalisation is genuine acceptance of group norms, and identification is revolved around group membership. These three forms of conformity are seen throughout society in many forms, positively and negatively, affecting people in all different ways. Conformity is seen everywhere. Not only are people influenced through social media, politics, and cultures, but it is also observed significantly throughout school. The Social Animal, a psychology developmental book, explains that people abide to things because of groups. Interesting enough, it is found that a group of as little as three are about as influential as a group of sixteen. In The Social Animal, David Brooks writes, “Individuals who have a generally low opinion of themselves are far more likely to yield to group pressure than those with high self-esteem.” Conformity is often found specifically more in high school because teens are more likely to gain a sense of low self-esteem through puberty, and while seeking for social acceptance, they conform to the rest of the crowd to gain group approval. Going through high school, many changes have occured right before my eyes. Such as girls continuously changing groups, people getting involved in suspicious activities, and people making countless mistakes. Looking back on the past three years of high school, I have always wondered why kids change themselves to conform to society’s standards and views of people. Going into my second semester as a senior, I have matured enough to grasp an understanding around the idea that teenagers go through many psychological and sociological changes. Perceived norms are partly to blame for such changes. As teens go through puberty, actual norms (true norms for a given to teens – such as homework) turn into perceived norms (beliefs that most teenagers are engaging in suspicious activity – such as partying.) After researching many different studies and conclusions made by psychologists, some of the repetitive reasons expressed why people conform are: low self-esteem/high anxiety, lack of knowledge, compliance, and most significantly, group approval. Expressed in the Journal of Communication, “most people would rather not express their personal views on policy if that means going against the crowd and potentially alienating friends, family, and coworkers.” In current times, too many people care about social status and popularity rather than personal views. Although social media keeps us significantly connected through a fast network of communications, it has been more recently found that the effect of sharing on social media leads to acts of conforming to others’ feedback. During the developmental changes peaking in early adolescence to about middle adolescence (age 14-18), peer pressure is found very likely. It is not until middle adolescence (18 to 30) where people develop the mindset to stand up against peers’ views and to make decisions based on his/her own intellectual. In an article called “Is Social Media Making us all the Same?” a specific block of text spoke out to me: “We are social creatures. Sometimes we’d rather be liked than struggle to stand up for what’s right. In the 1950s, for example, the social psychologist Solomon Asch conducted his famous experiments on conformity, finding that group pressure was so powerful it could cause individuals to warp their own visual perception of a line’s length—or at least admit to seeing what they didn’t see for the sake of not sticking out.”Modern conformity throughout society is most popularly influenced through social trends, technological communication, and news and media. With such high-end technological innovations, messages and news can be spread within seconds across the world, this results in a globally spread network of ideas, trends, and cultures. Through being exposed to such advancements in this century of time, people follow social media trends to “fit in.” Social media influences not only kids, but people of all ages to follow a trend or activity that will make them stand out and be more favored. Conformity is not always bad, however. Conformity can be useful for the spread of beliefs and cultures. In addition, conformity helps influences elections because The government is able to use social networks to their advancement because through media and global communication, governments can spread new ideas throughout the population. Messages that are spread immediately, can quickly influence attitudes and ideals of the population. In connection to the government and other sources, conformity is powerfully emphasized in the novel 1984, by George Orwell. More specifically, the type of conformity reflected in this novel is normative conformity. According to research from Simply Psychology, “this type of conformity usually involves compliance – where a person publicly accepts the views of a group but privately rejects them.” Throughout the novel, the characters change their behaviors and conform to the government standards. They conformed to the uniform society because of such great restrictions held by the government; for example, they are not allowed to have personal relationships, children are trained to report on their parents, and loving, trust-based relationships do not exist in the Party. The control of the Party is so forceful that individuality is completely absent from all people. The main character, Winston depicts normative conformity in many ways, however it peeks through when Julia send him a note saying “I love you” and they begin an affair.