An experimental study of three response modes in social influence situations

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A test is provided of Willis' conceptual framework, which specifies 3 response modes in a social influence situation. These are referred to as conformity, independence, and anticonformity. An individual can exhibit, over the course of several trials, any combination of independence or net conformity, i.e., conformity minus anticonformity. The object of this experimental demonstration was to manipulate simultaneously a number of independent variables so as to elicit 1 of the 3 basic modes of reacting from each of the 3 experimental groups. Conditions for 1 group were designed to maximize conformity, those of the 2nd to maximize independence, and those of the 3rd to maximize anticonformity. The prediction that these reactions can be brought under experimental control and can be substantially and differentially produced in the laboratory was confirmed. Differences among experimental groups were sizable as measured either by overall differences in independence and net conformity or by movement scores. In the case of the condition designed to maximize independence behavior, the theoretical limit was closely approached. For the conformity and anticonformity groups, the respective limits were less closely approached, but magnitudes of movement towards these limits were larger than in the case of the independence group. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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