The field of social psychology is one that, over the years, has gained a whole new importance in better understanding human behavior and, more central to the field itself, human interactions. Within the field of social psychology, which our textbook defines as "the study of how people influence others' behavior, beliefs, and attitudes" there has developed the important study of social influence.
Our book breaks down social influence further, into acts of conformity and obedience. Conformity, as many evolutionary psychologists have theorized, is thought to be an adaptive trait--something that we as humans have evolved over time--to help the formation of social groups, resulting in stronger biological fitness. Through experiments such as the Asch Studies psychologists have tried to pinpoint the causes of conformity, with some looking correlation between conformity and the "Big 5" personality traits. When looking at the "Big 5" personality traits, however, studies have failed to expose any correlation between one personality trait and the likelihood of conforming in the Asch Studies. This lack of correlation has made it impossible to associate the likelihood of conformity with any one trait; however these findings may, in some ways, point us to the real answer. I think that conformity is in fact a very adaptive trait, and has been developed through evolution to help provide humans with connections that help with the survival of the species. This being the case, the truth may be that it's not one or two of the "Big 5" personality traits that leads to conformity, but instead--it's all of them. All of the "Big 5" traits in my mind provide a person with the tendency toward conformity, with conformity being one of the few constants through the 5 traits. Whether its extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, or even neuroticism, they all seem to give a person the tendency to conform to the majority of people around them.
Pop - by liefs003 was a good blog entry. With good pictures and provides an interesting take on specialization and central planning. Should we look to the leafcutter ants for cues to building our society? They sure did a good job at building their society.