Conformity is the convergence of one or more individuals’ thoughts, feelings, or behavior toward an explicit, implied, or imagined social norm. The speculations of early political theorists have been borne out in decades of empirical work: political beliefs, allegiances, and behavior are significantly affected by conformity.

Definitions and Processes

A social norm is a generally accepted way of thinking, feeling, or behaving that most people in a group or social network agree on, follow, and endorse. The social norms that people conform to can be descriptive, representing what other people think, feel, and do, or they can be injunctive, representing what thoughts, feelings, and behaviors other people approve of. “Citizens vote” is a descriptive norm if it is true that most people cast ballots in elections, whereas ...

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