Why do people obey? While this is a deep topic that can go into psychology, societal pressures make people unquestionably obey. These are six reasons why people obey.

6 Reasons Why People Obey


Psychology Of Obedience

There are many reasons why people obey. The psychology of obedience is built into human behavior. People are naturally social creatures, and societal pressures can influence people to comply even when it goes against their self-interest. Many areas of society make people obey, making them think they will face societal consequences if they don’t. Many people will choose to conform to the influence of popular culture rather than embrace and become confident in themselves as individuals.

Societal Pressures

Six main societal influences train people to obey others rather than think for themselves.

Raised To Obey

Parents raise children to obey, and they are often not taught to distinguish when disobeying is okay. People are taught from a young age to defer to others simply because they are older, teach, have fancy titles by their name, or are in a position of authority. This trains people from early on that there are people who are better than them merely because they have a position of authority that society has arbitrarily deemed worthy of respect.

[bctt tweet=”Once you mature and ask critical questions, you may discover that those popular culture tells you to respect are the most unworthy of recognition.” username=”@secure_single”]

Education System

Starting from a young age, people are taught to obey without question. This often begins in kindergarten and continues up to the higher education system. They are told to respect teachers. The education system trains people to get ready to become employees. They are told what they must do to do well in a class. Students think that doing well on quizzes and tests to please their teachers and professors means they will do well in life. This creates obedient and conformist people rather than individuals who can think for themselves and do things independently without instructions.


Religion plays a role in obedience. If someone believes that disobeying is often considered wrong if they do something immoral, they become concerned that they have sinned or angered the deity or deities that are part of their religion. They fear being condemned in the afterlife for disobeying.

Rather than being able to see certain things in shades of grey, everything becomes black and white. Right and wrong. If they do something wrong such as disobeying someone in a position of authority, they think they have committed a sinful act that whichever deity they may worship condemns. Disobeying means they are not living a virtuous life which could have implications for them after they die.

Status Quo Bias

Some people need help dealing with or do not like change. This means that someone will stick to the status quo in one’s daily life or when it comes to more significant societal issues. People obey rules without question because they know that if they depart from what is established, they may be viewed as disobedient or even break the law.

There is little to nothing to lose when someone always tries to follow the rules. Some people want to do everything by the books and follow the same routines and rules because it is a safe choice.

Surveillance State

The surveillance state intrudes into the everyday lives of ordinary people. When you know everything you do is on record, you are likelier to obey and follow the rules without question. With all the data collected about people today with the Internet and digital records, you know that your actions, voice, fingerprints, and face are in a database somewhere. Anything about you that you may say that goes against the status quo could be used against you at any time.

[bctt tweet=”“An unjust law is no law at all.” – St. Augustine of Hippo” username=”@secure_single”]

Laws And Regulations

Laws and regulations can also contribute to making people obey. Many people don’t want to be seen as breaking the law, yet the United States is the most regulated country in the world.

The coercion from laws, regulations, and mandates uses the psychological tool of reward power. People obey and follow the rules because they want to be rewarded for their good behavior.

An example is not jaywalking across the street when no car is coming because you are worried you will get a ticket.

Many people who don’t want to break the law unknowingly do break the law. The average American breaks three laws a day. It is ridiculous to aim to be a good upright model citizen.

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There is nothing wrong with questioning authority. It can be healthy to disobey. Question authority and think for yourself. You can take back your life today by not always obeying and letting people control you. You are the one responsible for your life, no one else.

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James Bollen is the Founder and President of Secure Single. He is an entrepreneur and a content creator with the goal of helping all different types of singles to learn to thrive as a single person.
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