The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson

The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson

Summary of The Social Animal:The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson is a comprehensive analysis of the term conformity. Conformity, as Aronson has defined it, is a change in a person’s behavior or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or group of people (Aronson 15). Aronson has explained social understanding of conformity and has discussed with the help of experiments and practical examples, factors that determine the level of conformity of response in an individual with the society upon a certain matter. Aronson has also discussed its generic visualization as a positive or negative characteristic of people and the ways in which it can influence the results. Aronson has fundamentally asserted that people tend to move along with the mob in general because if they do not, they are offered social resistance. They may change their personal opinion in favor of the majority either to escape a punishment, seek a reward or else, because of lack of confidence in their personal judgment. Conformity is essentially compliance if the objective is reward/punishment centered. It is identification if the individual’s intention is to develop affiliation, and it is internalization, if the individual conforms if he/she actually thinks it is rational. Aronson has also discussed some personality variables like self esteem, courage and experience that determine the level of conformity in an individual’s attitude. Then Aronson discussed obedience in context of conformity, and finally, the role of an uninvolved bystander as that of a conformist, because he/she overlooks the tragedy because everybody else does the same. Overall, the article is a very comprehensive and though provoking demonstration of conformity. Works cited:Aronson, Elliot. The Social Animal. 2nd Ed. W. H. Freeman and Company, 1976. Print.

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