Bootcamp, Uggs, and Social Influence

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95% of people that find out I'm in the military tell me "Wow! I couldn't do that." Most people seem to think that they're too opposed to authority, too stubborn - too something, that would keep them from succeeding. I disagree with at least 50% of those people.

Humans are a highly social species generally forming social groups of 150 people. We look to others for clues on how to behave in unfamiliar situations, tempering our reactions with those that we observe around us. Why is it most women own a pair of black leggings and Ugg boots? Comfort? Style? Or is it Social conformity?

Social influence (to include conformity) has been studied for over 50 years, with results showing that we tend to play follow the leader. Ask a room full of people 5+7. You know the answer! You're excited! Strangle enough the 10 people before you answer incorrectly. As a general "rule" you will start to doubt yourself and your logic and quite possibly give the incorrect answer as well.

I was (am) stubborn and I like to do things my own way. Why did I do well at bootcamp? I followed everyone else. I didn't want to draw the drill instructors attention my way - and I bet if you were there too - you wouldn't want to either.

DrillInstructor.jpg

Sources: Lilienfeld textbook chapter 13
Image via: http://pauljenkins.tv/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/DrillInstructor.jpg

1 Comment

I completely agree with with your statement that humans are a highly social species and will generally look towards society to deal with an unknown situation. To elaborate on your Uggs comment, I too see girls everywhere that wear those boots, and I wonder if it's a choice mostly influenced by social popularity. It's kind of sad that there is a standard of social acceptance, that most people rely on society to make choices for them otherwise a choice not recommended through social popularity might not get you accepted into social groups.

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This page contains a single entry by kenne828 published on January 28, 2012 3:43 PM.

Is lighter skin really more superior? A look into interracial discrimination within Indian society was the previous entry in this blog.

Giving up Self-Control is the next entry in this blog.

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