The following points highlight the four reasons for our conformity to the norms of our society. The reasons are: 1. Indoctrination 2. Habituation 3. Utility 4. Group Identification.
Reason # 1. Indoctrination:
Among the processes and devices that tend to perpetuate the norms and bring about some sort of conformity among members of a group, socialisation or social indoctrination plays an important part.
Social indoctrination refers to “the inculcation of modes of thought and patterns of belief” among its members from infancy onwards. This learning process is called socialisation by which the values of the group are incorporated into the personality of the growing child.
Reason # 2. Habituation:
Closely related to this direct method of communication and instruction is habituation which may be described as “the process in which people unconsciously adapt their ways of thought to the social conditions under which they live”. Once we get used to a particular way of life we look upon it “as both inevitable and good”.
Thus, habituation and indoctrination work together towards the same goal, each strengthening and reinforcing the other. Through these two devices, men develop loyalties and convictions in regard to group mores.
Reason # 3. Utility:
In many social situations we recognise the rational efficacy of the norms to which we conform. “Thus, we stop at a red light and go on a green one, not only because we are indoctrinated and habituated to the practice, but because we recognize that this kind of regulation is useful to everyone, ourselves included”.
Reason # 4. Group Identification:
Sometimes we conform to the group norms not because we are indoctrinated or habituated to particular norms but simply because we identify ourselves with the group by doing what the group members do. No one likes to be singled out and identified as a non-conformist. Group identification gives us a feeling of security and helps to dispel a feeling of loneliness.