The above image refers to a pretty fascinating phenomenon: as human beings, we are free to make a lot of our own decisions, and yet we usually opt to imitate those around us.
According to our textbook, conformity refers to "the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure." When I think of conformity, I automatically associate the word in negative terms. Certainly, history has proven that there are some cons to conformity. The danger occurs when people stop thinking critically about their actions and blindly follow those around them.
So why conform? The book notes that from time to time, we all conform to social pressure. By conforming, we may alleviate some distress by matching our attitudes and behaviors with those around us. This was evident in the Asch Studies in which participants knowingly answered incorrectly.
Conformity isn't necessarily always bad; it can have some pros, too. Thinking back to a previous discussion section when our groups rank ordered the importance of survival tools, conforming to a particular set of ideas was crucial in order to make any decisions. At first, our group members didn't all agree on the importance of different tools, yet conformity (after discussion and debate!) was crucial to creating harmony among the group and accomplishing the task at hand.