March 21

Informational Social Influence: Understanding the Power of Social Influence


As social creatures, we are heavily influenced by the people around us. Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts, beliefs, and actions are shaped by the society we live in. This phenomenon is known as social influence. One type of social influence is informational social influence, which we will explore in this blog post.

What is Informational Social Influence?

Informational social influence occurs when we look to others for guidance on how to behave in a certain situation. We assume that the people around us have more knowledge and experience than we do, so we use their behavior as a source of information to guide our own actions.

For example, imagine you are at a new job and are unsure about how to behave in certain situations. You look to your coworkers to see how they handle similar situations and use their behavior as a guide for your own. In this case, you are experiencing informational social influence.

The Power of Informational Social Influence

Informational social influence can be a powerful force. It can lead us to adopt new beliefs, change our behavior, and even conform to social norms that we may not necessarily agree with.

One famous study that demonstrates the power of informational social influence is the Asch conformity experiments. In these experiments, participants were asked to match the length of a line to one of three comparison lines. The correct answer was obvious, but the participants were in a group with confederates who intentionally gave the wrong answer. The majority of participants conformed to the incorrect answer given by the group at least once, demonstrating the power of informational social influence.

How to Avoid the Negative Effects of Informational Social Influence

While informational social influence can be useful in certain situations, it can also lead to negative consequences. For example, it can lead to groupthink, where the desire for group harmony overrides the need for critical thinking and rational decision-making.

To avoid the negative effects of informational social influence, it is important to be aware of it and to question the information we are receiving. We should seek out multiple sources of information and evaluate them critically. Additionally, we should be willing to speak up and voice our own opinions, even if they go against the group consensus.


Informational social influence is a powerful force that can shape our beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. By understanding how it works, we can become more aware of the information we are receiving and make better decisions. Remember to question the information you receive, seek out multiple sources, and be willing to speak up and voice your own opinions.


informational social influence

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