Informational social influence is when you learn from others’ behavior who have been in a similar situation as you are currently in, and then follow their example. It differs from gathering information from other sources like courses, data, experts, or online bloggers. Ahem.
For example, you are always really hungry. People say to eat healthier, but now you hear McDonald’s sells salads. So, you decide to start eating salads too. But then you learn that Brad Pitt has a six-pack and hates McDonald’s, he only eats salads from Burger King. So, using informational social influence, you rightly switch to another fast food chain and shortly thereafter get a shiny six-pack of abs.
How Informational Social Influence Works: A Dance of Human Behavior
Think of informational social influence as a dance – the “Social Imitation Tango,” if you will. When unsure of the steps, people look to others who seem to know the dance, and then follow their moves. In this way, everyone stays in sync and avoids stepping on each other’s toes. Informational social influence is like picking up the latest dance moves from fellow dancers at the party instead of learning them from a dance instructor or YouTube video.
The Reasons Behind the Influence: The Curiosity of Chameleons
Humans are naturally curious creatures, always seeking information and knowledge. When faced with uncertainty, they look to others for guidance. There are a few reasons why informational social influence works so well:
- Desire for accuracy: People want to be right and make good decisions. By observing others who seem to know what they’re doing, they hope to make the best choice.
- Uncertainty reduction: In confusing situations, people want to reduce their uncertainty. Watching others can help them feel more confident about their actions.
- Social approval: Just like chameleons changing color to blend in, humans sometimes imitate others to gain social acceptance and avoid standing out like a sore thumb.
Informational Social Influence in Everyday Life: A Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes
It’s not just celebrities who influence everyday decisions. Informational social influence can be seen all around, from deciding where to eat lunch to choosing a new workout routine. Here are a few common examples:
- Fashion trends: When unsure of what to wear, people often look to their friends or celebrities for inspiration. If everyone’s wearing high-waisted jeans, it must be cool, right?
- Technology: When a new gadget hits the market, people are more likely to buy it if they see others enjoying it. Nobody wants to be left out of the next big thing!
- Choosing a college: Prospective students often visit campuses to see what life is like for current students. If they like what they see, they may be more likely to enroll.
- Emergency situations: In times of crisis, people often look to others for guidance on how to react. If everyone’s calmly evacuating a building, they’ll likely follow suit.
Navigating the World with Informational Social Influence: A GPS for Life
The world can be a confusing place, but informational social influence acts as a built-in GPS, helping people navigate through life’s twists and turns. By learning from others, people can make more informed decisions and fit in with their social groups.
However, it’s important to remember that just because everyone’s doing something, it doesn’t always mean it’s the right choice. Sometimes, the blind lead the blind, and the dance takes a wrong turn. So, while informational social influence can be helpful, it’s essential to mix in some critical thinking and personal judgment as well.
In conclusion, informational social influence is a powerful psychological concept that explains how people learn from others in similar situations. From fashion trends to emergency responses, this type of influence shapes countless decisions every day. By understanding this concept, it’s possible to make more informed choices and navigate the world with a little more confidence. And who knows? With the right mix of informational social influence and personal judgment, that shiny six-pack of abs might not be too far out of reach.