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University of Toronto Scarborough

Influence of Friends and Group Environments  our personality and behaviours are influenced by our friends and peers Friends  at different stages of a person’s development, friends have varying levels of influence on him/her  friends become increasingly important from school age into adolescence, while the influence of family decreases (but is still strong)  during adolescence, friendships are safe spaces for adolescents to explore their identities and develop a sense of belonging and acceptance  studying the influence of peers in adolescence is complex—one reason is that friends tend to gather because they have similar interests, making it difficult to judge where similarity ends and influence starts  do your friends influence your behaviour, or were you similar to begin with (which allowed you to be friends)  teens often have multiple levels of friends (best friends, good friends etc.) and belong to groups; while close friendships are intimate and usually long lasting, teens tend to move between other cliques and crowds that are largely based on demographics (age, gender) and interests  however, even though parents’ influence decrease throughout adolescence, it is still greater than that of a peer group  communion (need for connection and closeness) and agency (need for prominence/important) account for variation in friendship needs of pre-adolescents and adolescents  adolescents can predict the consequences of failure to meet friendship needs such as loneliness Conforming to Expectations  we instinctually pick up cues from others and conform to their expectations  ex: Mark Snyder’s experiment in 1977 studied men and women who met for the first time by having conversation using microphones (no face contact)  before hand, each of the men were given a biography of the woman he would speak to as well as a photo; the men didn’t know the men they would meet weren’t actually the one in the photo  half the men were given photos of attractive girls, while other half got pictures of unattractive girls  Snyder found that during the conversation the women instinctively conformed to what the men expected from them (ex: in situations where the men expected to speak with an attractive woman, the women behaved in a stereotypical way of attractive people)  conclusions were that people instinctively change their behaviour to conform to what is expected by others  we don’t all conform to the same degree, and this are 2 types of people when it comes to conformity:  high-self monitors: people who change their behaviour to suit the situation and use cues to decide how to act; they like to show off their skills and choose friends who will help them improve these skills (ex: if being good at hockey is
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