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The Persuasion and Social Influence Phenomenon

Is persuasion and social influence the same? Can persuasion truly change the way people act and develop societies? You may be surprised to know that societies actually evolve through various persuasive actions of leaders and members. Persuasion and social influence are linked together, in such a way that standards and human laws can change depending on perceived needs and wants.

Identifying the Two Terms

Persuasion is defined as a type of social influence. Social influence is described as the tendency of interacting individuals belonging to the same group or community, to act, share beliefs, and perceive needs based on set social norms. The actions or thoughts of one or more persons can radically change and influence others. In that sense, social influence is also defined as a type of persuasion, making the two congruent or parallel in nature.

The leaders of a given society, known or potential, have the ability to influence the entire system and group according to their own will. There are different types of abilities that can increase the likelihood of a person to affect an entire community. Examples would be rich individuals, prominent families, a professional position, and even good looks. These are factors that can boost credibility and gain the attention of others, leading to successful persuasion and social influence.

Why People Want to Follow

Persuasion and social influence can be attained once people realize their need and want to follow or be influenced. Primarily, all members of a given society want to conform to the set standards and norms, may it be personal, political, or religious.

The first type of conformity is compliance, wherein you influence others by letting them want to accept your views, just so they feel that their reaction is acceptable to the whole group.

The second type is identification, where you influence others in a way that they agree just so they feel that they belong. This can be temporary most of the time, since their beliefs and views could instantly change after leaving the group.

The third type is internalization, wherein you successfully influence people and change their views permanently. In this manner, they will be able to truly understand, accept, and absorb your viewpoints. Persuasion and social influence is best exhibited in this third type of conformity.

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