Conformity Response Exercise

Scenario:

John is an 18-year-old freshman at New York University. John was the starting quarterback at his high school in a small town in Indiana. He enjoys playing sports and hanging out with friends. John has always been popular and done well in school and sports. Once he is comfortable in his surroundings he can be confident in what he is doing.

Donnie is an 18-year-old freshman from Chicago attending Iowa State. Donnie spends most of his time playing his guitar and writing music. In high school, he had a few close friends but his attention was mainly focused on his studies and his music. He has little trouble expressing himself and enjoys doing so on stage while playing in his band. Donnie is determined to earn a degree and find a career in playing, writing, or producing music.

Response:

In 200 to 300 words provide an opinion on who would be more likely to be persuaded by peer pressures such as drinking, drug use, skipping class, and other irresponsible behavior in a new city. Then, provide your reasoning on why you chose either John or Donnie as more likely to conform to his new social situation. Reference the factors that influence persuasion and conformity discussed in your text.

As I read the two examples I, unfortunately, tended to lean towards the musician as far as drinking, drugs, etc… because of the stereotype. After getting past that stereotype I would have to say that John would be more inclined to give into peer pressure. John’s self-esteem is based on a single trait, athleticism. Without the advantage of that trait, he will have to base his self-esteem on other traits which he probably has not developed as well as his athleticism. He will have to readjust his self-identity to accommodate this shift thereby making him more prone to give into peer pressure in order to regain his lost self-esteem. The musician has a self-identity built on his major and life’s ambition. Unless John is going to be a professional athlete he is going to have to find other traits to base his self-esteem on. One of the things that John enjoys is hanging out with friends. This also points to John’s dependence on other’s opinions in order to build self-esteem. He bases his self-worth on what others say and by doing so is much more likely to give in to other’s demands for conformity. Donnie, however, has a few close friends which imply that he does not hang out with friends just to reaffirm himself. He chooses people who are not just fair-weather friends. He chooses people who he knows will be there even when he is not popular or the center of attention. Therefore Donnie will be less likely to look for social acceptance through his friends.

References

Nevid, J.S., Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium. Danvers, M.A.: Wiley.

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