The knowledge and understanding of social influences help students to better understand why people feel and act as they do.
This knowledge also helps the student to become less vulnerable to unwanted and undesirable manipulation.
The power of social influence comes from culture (norms, values, belief systems), social structure (role, statuses, groups, and institutions), and the processes of persuasion, conformity, and group participation.
Indeed, an understanding of these social influences will also help our students to become less vulnerable to unwanted and undesirable manipulation and more adept at resisting the temptations of conforming to the values and priorities of this world!
Culture is indeed a powerful force of human behavior. Most people live out their entire lives in the context of groups. Group norms usually develop in order to coordinate the activity necessary to achieve the group's goals.
Conformity refers to a change in behavior or belief that results from real or imagined group pressure. It is the social impact of conformity that determines its negative or positive social value.
But not everyone conforms! Some people are anti-conformists, while others are nonconformists. Anti-conformity is the tendency to avoid normative influence of the group for the same reasons that people conform for approval or for attention. Some people like to be seen different or UNIQUE!
Well, since everyone is unique, everyone share this desire or need to some extent to express a feeling of UNIQUENESS.
True independence (nonconformity) occurs when a person acts in accordance with his or her own reasons, and is not due to desire for approval or attention. People, like me, who are inner-directed rely on internalized principles to decide how to act and are truly independent.
People who are other-directed and follow the examples of others or those who are tradition directed would rely on tradition for guidance.
We should be transformed by the renewing of our minds, a process that happens within us and by which we get new thoughts, new values...
The most important question a student can ask this week is "how powerful is the influence others have on us?"