Conformity: An Innate Behavior

Stetka, B. (2015, March 1). Conformity Starts Young. Retrieved January 9, 2016, from


The article says how conformity is common in humans and is instilled in our natural behavior since a very young age. He references a study led by a team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. They took Two year old children, chimpanzees and orangutans. The study consisted of three boxes, each time the subject dropped a ball into a specific box it yielded a prize. Each of the subjects caught on to this. After watching their peers fail to figure out the same thing the subjects were made to do the exercise again while their peers watched. This time around only the human child changed the box they dropped the ball into. These results suggested that the human desire to conform is developed at an early age.


I chose this source because I find it interesting on how conformity comes as such a natural concept for humans. Even though it seems that in teen years’ rebellion is more popular, then again is that just another form of conformity. The scientists believe that conformity is innate to humans because “…group harmony was important in growing communities’ dependent on the exchange of cultural information.” To me that means that in order for us to work together as a community and to build a civilization conformity became a natural behavior. It is relevant to our discussion of conformity because conformity is something that will remain constant in today’s culture and far into the future. I believe that this ties into our discourse theme by taking it to its roots. The study mentioned in this article is evidence that conformity is a normal trait among humans, even toddlers. Now as we grow older obviously we become more self-aware of what we want and who we want to be. The desire to conform is challenged by our own individualistic ideals.


My reaction to the source was one of interest. I guess it makes sense that conformity is a natural behavior but I’ve never given it much thought before. I found it very interesting that toddler at the young age of two could exhibit this behavior. I find it interesting because at the age of two I would never think one would be capable of something so complex. It’s a wonder what our subconscious is capable of. Considering the chimpanzees and orangutans didn’t show the same need to fit in with their peers, it raises the question of just what is behind the psychology of this phenomenon. Not to mention the role conformity has played in the course of history?

2 thoughts on “Conformity: An Innate Behavior

  1. rosalyng2015 says:

    As I first started to read this I thought, “But humans do not like to conform! We are always seeking individual expression and self-preservation.” You shut this argument down very nicely though with your insightful comment, “Now as we grow older obviously we become more self-aware of what we want and who we want to be. The desire to conform is challenged by our own individualistic ideals.” Also, you never claim conformity is a natural trait for ALL humans, simply “among” humans. I believe this is a crucial difference since we do have individuals who resist conformity with both positive and negative consequences.


  2. jms141 says:

    I find it interesting as well that just at such a young age we as human go into conformity and that somehow it is only a us thing. And I do agree that it might be an automatic reaction because of a fact that uniting is how us as humans work best; in a community. Conformity might be what makes us human and even though in the teenager stage it is what might make us rebellious it is how we learn who we truly are and what we are comfortable with within ourselves.


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