Does the age and Familiarity of the Informant Group Influence the Tendency of 3- and 4-year-old Children to Conform?

Nicola McGuigan, Amy Stevenson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    48 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The authors' aim was to explore whether the age and the familiarity of the individuals comprising a group majority influenced the tendency of 3- and 4-year-old children to conform. Participants were presented with 2 variants of a novel task in which they were required to judge which of 3 line-drawn tigers had the greatest number of stripes. The participants made their judgments in 2 contexts, first after viewing 5 informants perform the task incorrectly, and second without viewing the responses of other individuals. The informants comprised a group of familiar children, a group of unfamiliar children, a group of familiar adults, or a group of unfamiliar adults. The results showed that the children displayed selective conformity with respect to informant age, readily adopting the incorrect response when it was indicated by an adult majority, but failing to do so when the same incorrect response was indicated by a majority of children. In contrast the familiarity of the individuals comprising the majority had little influence on the tendency of children to conform. These results suggest that children are not blanket conformists, rather they respond selectively depending on characteristics of the individuals comprising the group majority.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)122-130
    Number of pages9
    JournalThe Journal of Genetic Psychology
    Volume177
    Issue number4
    Early online date24 Jun 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Keywords

    • conformity
    • informant age
    • informant familiarity
    • majority influence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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