The Dangers and Benefits of Conformity


Brianna Gilmartin

People change themselves in order to follow social norms because they feel the need to fit in.

Sophia Jones, Photojournalist

Conformity is most often viewed as a negative thing, but it can also have some advantages and purpose. By conforming, one can move towards a common goal or one can lose their individual self. 


There are many reasons why conforming can be very important and beneficial to society and one’s life.  People who conform tend to be very reliable, responsible, and trustworthy, or they tend to follow rules. They often complete work on time. 


Also, people who conform can be much more comfortable in social atmospheres because they are able to respond to other people’s behaviors, tones, and feelings. Overall, in most social settings, conformity can create a more pleasant environment for all parties by making people more unified with less conflict. 


According to Michael Muthukrishna’s experiment, “The when and who of social learning and conformist transmission” conformity was presented when people often chose the safe option of the group when they did not know what to choose in a decision. It was even shown in the experiment that people with higher IQs typically make their own independent decisions, yet when presented with a decision in which they are unsure, will follow others (The University of British Columbia). 

it is sad that people feel the need to change themselves in order to be liked.

— Grecia Chavez (9)

Though there are these many pros of conformity, it can have different cons. By conforming, one will be prevented from being their true self and will lose their individuality in society. People will act and be the same, further damaging a person’s sense of self. Along with this, people aren’t as creative or innovative.


Grecia Chavez (9) states that she has seen so many people she knows “change themselves because they want to fit in.” She feels that it is sad that people feel the need to change themselves in order to be liked.


Following the social norm prevents fight for change in society, further preventing any advancements. It will create a greater stigma surrounding different viewpoints and ideas, preventing progress and growth. 


There are a lot of psychological aspects behind conformity and why people feel the need to follow social norms. Many may want to fit into a specific group of people, so they adopt their characteristics and change themselves to be considered a part of it. People are also heavily influenced by social pressure in order to fit in. They may completely change as a result of criticization or bullying in hopes of being praised and liked. Conformers may look to others that they wish to be with in order to see how they should act, feel, or respond in order to do what is expected of them.


This desire to fit in and belong is within human biology and is a common human inclination for the majority of people.