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Conformity Effect Sizes are Smaller on the Frontier

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image of Journal of Cognition and Culture

AbstractIn recent years cultural psychology has expanded its approach to include the study of within-cultural variation. The present study explored the consequences of frontier settlement for contemporary regional variation in conformity in the USA. Consistent with the Voluntary Settlement Hypothesis, effect sizes in studies using classic experimental conformity paradigms in frontier states were found to be smaller than effect sizes in non-frontier states. Further, state-level conformity in experimental settings was found to correlate with state-level prevalence of popular names (a behavioral indicator of conformity) suggesting that regional variation in conformity in lab settings is related to regional variation in deliberate real-world decisions that reflect a preference for conformity or uniqueness. Implications for advertising and persuasive messages are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Peking University 5 Yiheyuan Road, Beijing 100871 P.R. China


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