Social suggestion, also known as social influence, is a psychological concept that refers to the process by which an individual’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors are influenced by the presence or actions of others. This phenomenon can occur in a variety of contexts, including social situations, advertising, and political campaigns. In this article, we will explore the different types of social suggestion and how they impact individuals.

Types of Social Suggestion

There are several types of social suggestion identified by psychologists. Let’s take a closer look at each one:


Conformity is the tendency to adjust one’s behavior or attitudes in response to perceived group norms or expectations. This can occur due to explicit pressure from others or simply because an individual wants to fit in with a particular group. For example, if a group of coworkers goes out for drinks after work every Friday, someone who wants to fit in may feel pressure to attend even if they don’t particularly enjoy it.


Compliance occurs when an individual agrees to a request or demand made by another person. This can happen because the individual perceives that there will be rewards for compliance or punishment for non-compliance. For example, if a boss asks an employee to work overtime on a project and offers them a bonus for doing so, the employee may comply due to the potential reward.


Obedience is similar to compliance but involves following orders from someone with perceived authority over us. This can occur in situations such as military service or when following instructions from law enforcement officers.

The Impact of Social Suggestion

Social suggestion can have both positive and negative impacts on individuals. On one hand, conformity can help us fit into groups and build relationships with others.

Compliance can also lead us to do things that are beneficial for ourselves or others, such as donating to a charitable cause. Obedience can help maintain order and safety in society.

On the other hand, social suggestion can also lead to negative consequences. Conformity can lead individuals to engage in harmful behaviors such as bullying or discrimination if those actions are perceived as acceptable within their group.

Compliance can result in individuals doing things that are against their own values or beliefs in order to please others. Obedience can lead to individuals blindly following authority figures even when it is not in their best interest.


Social suggestion is a complex phenomenon that impacts individuals in a variety of ways. By understanding the different types of social suggestion and their potential impacts, we can make more informed decisions about our own behavior and better understand the behavior of those around us.