Social Influence Theory is a concept that explains how people’s behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts can be influenced by others. This theory suggests that people are not always aware of the impact of social influence on their actions and decisions. In this article, we will explore an example of Social Influence Theory, which will help us understand the theory more comprehensively.

What is Social Influence Theory?

Social Influence Theory is a psychological concept that explains how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others. It suggests that people tend to conform to the norms of society to fit in or avoid social rejection. There are three types of social influence: compliance, identification, and internalization.

Compliance refers to the act of conforming to the norms or requests of others without changing one’s own belief system.

Identification refers to when individuals change their behavior or beliefs to align with those they admire or respect.

Internalization, on the other hand, occurs when individuals genuinely adopt new beliefs or behaviors as their own.

An Example of Social Influence Theory

One famous example of Social Influence Theory is the Asch conformity experiment conducted in 1951 by psychologist Solomon Asch. The experiment involved a group of participants who were asked to look at two cards – one with a single line and another with three lines labeled A, B, and C – and determine which line on the second card matched the length of the line on the first card.

The experiment was designed so that only one participant was real while others were actors pretending to be participants. The actors would deliberately give incorrect answers.

The real participant was seated last in a row and had to give an answer after all other participants had given theirs. The purpose was to see if the participant would conform with incorrect answers given by others despite knowing that they were wrong.

The results showed that 75% of participants conformed at least once, giving the same incorrect answer as others in the group. This experiment demonstrated the concept of compliance, where individuals conformed to fit in and avoid social rejection.


Social Influence Theory is a fascinating concept that explains how people’s behavior, thoughts, and beliefs can be influenced by others. The Asch conformity experiment is one of the most famous examples of this theory, demonstrating how people tend to conform to social norms to fit in or avoid rejection. Understanding Social Influence Theory can help us recognize when we are being influenced by others and make more informed decisions.