Assignment 1 Research

I came across this article online when researching the roles of adults and why they sometimes act childish. The article is about the social roles and norms in our society which I think links to what we expect of people.

“We do not expect people to behave randomly but to behave in certain ways in particular situations.  Each social situation entails its own particular set of expectations about the “proper” way to behave. Such expectations can vary from group to group.” (McLeod, 2008) For example we expect adults to act in a mature way for their age, we expect parents to be responsible of their children. We expect children to act in an immature way and be silly, but we also expect the parent to be there to tell them the right thing to do and the right way to act in social situations.

“The idea of norms provides a key to understanding social influence in general and conformity in particular. Social norms are the accepted standards of behavior of social groups.  These groups range from friendship and work groups to nation states.  behavior which fulfills these norms is called conformity, and most of the time roles and norms are powerful ways of understanding and predicting what people will do.” (McLeod, 2008)

“Norms provide order in society. It is difficult to see how human society could operate without social norms.” (McLeod, 2008) Adults and children and expected to act a particular way in society, if they don’t act this way then it becomes a problem for the society. For example if adults don’t act mature and responsible, how can they expect children to grow up and do the same, after all children copy their elders, its how they learn and how they know what to do in life.

After reading this, I was interested by the term ‘conformity’ so I decided to look up the definition. Conformity is basically a type of social influence in which people change a belief or their behaviour in order to fit in and copy everyone else in a group. This is definitely apparent in children as they are young and naive so this often happens around people of similar ages to them. It may also happen with childish adults, yet society believes it shouldn’t. Adults are expected to act in a particular way, if you are copying bad behaviour or going against your role in society than you are fulfilling social conformity.

“Conformity can also be simply defined as “yielding to group pressures” (Crutchfield, 1955).  Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism etc.  Conformity is also known as majority influence (or group pressure).” (McLeod, 2007) This is also renown for something children do, especially children at school. Children are so influenced by everything around them, at this age they copy everything too. They copy other peers to fit in with their group even if its bullying, and they copy their parents because their influenced by them so they believe that what they are doing is the right thing to do, therefore they copy. This may be why some children act like adults because they so highly influenced by them. I guess this will always happen in society, its a part of growing up.




McLeod, S. A. (2008) Social Roles [online] available from from <; [27 November 2014]

McLeod, S. A. (2007) What is Conformity? [online] available from <; [27 November 2014]