behavioural conformity

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The tendency to make one's actions comply with prevailing norms, irrespective of one's personal beliefs; distinct, therefore, from the full conformist who endorses norms and behaviour alike. Some sociologists have argued that the conforming personality is a distinct type. Because such people want to be liked, and to be accepted by others whom they deem important, they reflect the attitudes and behaviour of these peers—so that if these people are (say) anti-semitic, then the conformist will also voice opinions and participate in discriminatory activities against Jews. However, because conformists need to be liked rather than want to hate, they tend not to generalize their attitudes and behaviour to cognate outgroups. (Thus, in this example, antipathy to Jews would not be extended to other ethnic minority groups.)

Subjects: Sociology.

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