Skip main navigation

Imitating and influencing others

This article discusses why we imitate and influence others.
Photo of a man and kid shaving in front of each other. Child seems to imitate his father.
© ACTISS

Welcome back! This week is about exploring how relations and networks impact social processes. It provides a quick glance at Social Network Analysis.

Quite often the more people do something, the more prone we are to do it too. It’s neither good nor bad, this is just us, humans. There are many reasons for that. Sometimes we treat other people as a source of information on how to behave in a certain situation – just think about arriving in a foreign country where we don’t know the social rules that well – it’s easiest to just observe the others and follow them. At other times, even if we feel a bit weird while copying the others’ behaviour, we do it because we would feel uncomfortable sticking out.

The adjusting or matching one’s behaviour to the behaviour of a group is called conformity.

Watch this 3-minute video:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Now think about the way people influence each other. Please share your ideas about how and why we imitate other people’s behaviour with the other learners.

© ACTISS
This article is from the free online

People, Networks and Neighbours: Understanding Social Dynamics

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education