Are people really conformist-biased? An empirical test and a new mathematical model
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 14:35 authored by K Eriksson, J C Coultas
According to an influential theory in cultural evolution, within-group similarity of culture is explained by a human 'conformist-bias', which is a hypothesized evolved predisposition to preferentially follow a member of the majority when acquiring ideas and behaviours. However, this notion has little support from social psychological research. In fact, a major theory in social psychology (LATANÉ and WOLF, 1981) argues for what is in effect a ‘nonconformist-bias’: by analogy to standard psychophysics they predict minority sources of influence to have relatively greater impact than majority sources. Here we present a new mathematical model and an experiment on social influence, both specifically designed to test these competing predictions. The results are in line with nonconformism. Finally, we discuss within-group similarity and suggest that it is not a general phenomenon but must be studied trait by trait.
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Psychology
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- Psychology Publications
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