The behavior of a far-sighted person depends on the impact of certain psychological phenomena. These include conformity, groupthink, and bystander apathy. These phenomena are common in societal set ups, and it is crucial to reduce their negative effects. Without such control mechanisms, these factors might lead an ethically upright person to act immorally.
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Conformity is a psychological phenomenon that leads to change of behavior or belief due to either real or perceived group pressure. This pressure may take different forms such as bullying, teasing, discrimination, persuasion among others. There are three main types of social conformity.
One is normative conformity, which occurs due to the desire to fit in a group. The second is informational, which occurs whenever an individual has the desire to be corrected. Finally, there is identification conformity. It comes about due to the desire to match to some social role (McLeod).
Groupthink is the next psychological phenomena. This phenomenon occurs when people make decisions while their judgment is over clouded by the desire for group cohesiveness (“What is Groupthink?”). One characteristic of groupthink is a feeling of illusion of values and fortification. In this case, members dwell under the impression that group decisions are morally right. In addition, groupthink comes with self-censoring elements.
Here, members stifle their opinions due to fear of controversy. The fear comes about because such groups often engage in undermining other groups and issues they are hand. Immense pressures for conformity instill fear of rejection in members. Another factor that identifies groupthink is dependence on collective rationalization. These individuals rationalize flawed ideas (“What is Groupthink?”).
The next psychological phenomenon is bystander apathy, which occurs when individuals do not offer help in emergencies whenever other people are present. Experts say that the probability of helping a stranger is inversely proportional to the number of bystanders present (Yudkowsky). A victim may overcome bystander effect by singling out a person in the crowd and appealing for help rather than appealing to the entire group. This puts responsibility on that person and kicks in social proof that there is a need of help.
Therefore, groupthink, conformity, and bystander apathy have distinctive ways of affecting ones morals negatively. To begin with, bystander apathy can make upstanding persons unconsciously ignore helping a victim. For example, a group may be travelling and come across a sick person lying by the roadside and may ignore the sick person due to the psychological factor. In this case, a virtuous person will most likely behave immorally, just as the others do.
In the case of groupthink, a prudent person may join a group to achieve morally acceptable goals, but the desire to sustain the group’s cohesiveness may overtake thee desire to act morally. Therefore, when the group brings up incorrect ideas for discussion and approval, members fall prey to false consensus.
In this manner, even the prudent person will behave immorally. Lastly, conformity can make one pursue wicked lifestyles. This happens when a highly influencing group uses threats or undue force to lead the individual to comply with their immoral standards. For example, when striking students bully their fellows to join them, the victim may comply and, therefore, behave immorally.
These psychological factors, conformity, groupthink, and bystander apathy, may make a prudent individual behave immorally. However, they can also influence the behavior of an immoral person. Therefore, behavior does not entirely define a person’s moral character.
McLeod, Saul. “What is Conformity?.” Simply Psychology – Psychology Articles for Students. Simply Pychology, 2007. Web.
“What is Groupthink?.” wiseGEEK: clear answers for common questions. Conjecture Corporation, n.d. Web.
Yudkowsky, Eliezer. “Bystander Apathy .” Less Wrong . N.p.,2009. Web.