The Pull of Conformity

Conformity is the tendency to align your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those around you. It's a powerful force that can take the form of overt social pressure or subtler unconscious influence. As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals, the fact is that we're driven to fit in, and that usually means going with the flow.

Recent posts on Conformity

Happiness Through Solitude

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 09, 2017 in How To Do Life
Another in my series on people who prefer to be alone.

Speaking of Marriage

How often does it happen that partners decide to put the couple before themselves as individuals?

Politics and Poison: Casualties of Fake News

The FDA warns that some natural remedies contain poison. Meanwhile partisan rhetoric poisons the body politic.

Arousing Curiosity May Help Take the Politics Out of Science

By Christopher Bergland on February 01, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A new Yale-led study has pinpointed a simple antidote that may help us take the politics out of science.

Crowd Size, Line Length, and Conformity

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on January 30, 2017 in Mental Mishaps
When you quietly agree with the statements of a group, how does conforming change you? Can you retain your original views? Does conforming alter the way you see the world?

The Silenced Majority

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 21, 2017 in How To Do Life
To avoid Civil War II, we must encourage moderates to speak up.

Bullying, Identity, and the "Escape from Freedom"

“If humanity cannot live with the dangers and responsibilities inherent in freedom, it will probably turn to authoritarianism.” Erich Fromm, 1941.

A Reclusive Twin

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 15, 2017 in How To Do Life
The latest in my series of interviews with people who'd rather be alone.

6 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd

Going along with the crowd seems to be our default mode, as supported by recent neuroscience research. These six tips will give you the skills to stand out.

“I Thought Being an Introvert was Abnormal”

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 03, 2017 in How To Do Life
An interview with a loner.

Top Excuses for Trashing the Planet (and Other People)

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on December 31, 2016 in The Green Mind
What are your favorite excuses for complacency in the face of environmental destruction? And what are your favorite ways of being a good Earth citizen?

Is It a Marriage If...?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on December 30, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
Does human matrimony reflect our animal nature?

Could Online Dating Help You Find the One?

By Donna Barstow on December 29, 2016 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Dare to step inside these raging waters.

New Book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

By Jennifer Haupt on December 27, 2016 in One True Thing
Caring less can actually lead to more happiness, better relationships, and greater success. Here's how.

Why Donita Sparks Is a Subversive Ray of Hope

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on December 22, 2016 in Brick by Brick
As the leader of the seminal band L7, Donita Sparks has no time for what you think of her.

Madonna's Tenacity: Naysayers Can Be a Source of Motivation

By Christopher Bergland on December 15, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Madonna's "2016 Woman of the Year" speech at the Billboard awards offers fresh clues for ways to reframe the cynicism of naysayers and turn vitriol into a source of inspiration.

People Who Will Say Anything to Win an Argument

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 13, 2016 in Ambigamy
You suspect that they'll say anything to win, but how can you tell for sure? You can't, but you can make good educated guesses.

Holiday Party Attire: Captivate Through Creativity and Class

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on December 08, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Out of the office but on the clock? Take advantage of the opportunity to dress to impress, making your holiday party the most wonderful workplace celebration of the year.

To Punish or to Teach?

How we handle mistakes can make a difference.

You’re Not a Bad Person: Facing Privilege Can Be Liberating

By Miki Kashtan Ph.D. on November 25, 2016 in Acquired Spontaneity
Time and time again I notice just how simple and strong it is to own and acknowledge my privilege where I have it, and to do so without guilt and shame.

Interfaith Holidays and Conflict Resolution

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on November 25, 2016 in Off the Couch
A rise in interfaith marriages has led to greater confusion about how to celebrate the holidays, and greater family tensions than ever before. How can you manage the differences?

Winter Holiday Weight Gain and Related Biological Causes

There are seasonal biological changes that facilitate an increase in our caloric intake.

Taking a Deeper Look at the "Negative Person"

By Carrie Barron M.D. on November 24, 2016 in The Creativity Cure
The person who is labeled "negative" may actually be sad.

Why We Choose the Words We Use

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 21, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
Can psychology restore your linguistic options? Or are trendy words and phrases destined for the junk heap?

For Christmas, I Gave My Child An Empty Box

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on November 21, 2016 in Nurturing Resilience
This Black Friday, avoid the mall. Instead, give your child gifts this Christmas that build real creativity and are good for them, physically and intellectually.

Holiday Traditions

Are your holiday traditions those of stress and apprehension? Try a new approach.

World Exclusive: Strange Outbreak of Hallucinations – Solved

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on October 28, 2016 in It's Catching
Case closed: The strange hallucination outbreak in Oregon

Mandeville's Paradox: Springtime for Machiavellians

Convincing someone that virtue is vice and vice is virtue is a familiar manipulative tactic.

Why Give-and-Take Always Beats Give-and-Give-Some-More

Long-term, romantic relationships always involve compromise. But how much compromise is too much?
Mike Mozart, used under Creative Commons License

The Downside of Having Nothing to Hide

By David Berreby on October 19, 2016 in The Outsourced Mind
Soon, we'll all know a lot more about each other's motives, in real time. And it won't be pretty.