Extra Credit Blog Post: The Power of Obedience

Since we have started talking about the topic of obedience and conformity in lecture, I have been amazed at the power of the presence others around us. I never realized how contagious behavior can be. It makes sense now to see how family members and friends have similar mannerisms and personas, and act the same. Today, there has been so much emphasis on being “original” and “unique,” but now I know that it is only natural for us to conform to those around us. There is not much to say for those who criticize our society for conforming to our culture since I know now that we conform almost unconsciously, it is a part of how we think and our natural lives. The Chameleon Effect, described as unconsciously mimicking other expressions, postures or voice tones really caught my attention. After learning about this, I realized that since I moved in with my roommate last semester, I have picked up some of the mannerisms that she has and that she has also done the same with me. Before then, I had never even noticed how similar we act and behave. Who would of thought that just having others around you, just their simple presence, would affect how you yourself behave. It makes sense when you think that no one wants to “rock the boat.” I know that I myself never want to be the odd man out, and why would anyone else? The concept of groupthink, the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a group overrides realistic appraisal of alternatives, also scared me. So many accidents and traumatic events in history could have been avoided if that one person decided to speak up out of the crowd. It really shows the power behind it all. Instead of speaking against the others, these people let the attack on Pearl Harbor happen, they let the Challenger explode. It is truly eye-opening to see how our brains, conformity and obedience all work.

1 thought on “Extra Credit Blog Post: The Power of Obedience

  1. Ben Joseph Yaroslavsky

    It’s crazy to think that Pearl Harbor, the Challenger explosion, and a lot of other catastrophies happened because the desire for group harmony was greater than the desire to do the right thing. I remember back in the day, I skateboarded. My group of skateboarding friends always used to dress the same way, so I started dressing like a ‘skater’ because thats the group is what I attributed myself to. The skaters did a lot of the same stuff such as use the same vocab- so everyone conformed and spoke a similar way because of the need to conform. I believe that in every group there’s a great need for conformance and obedience.

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