The influence of moralistic and egoistic biases on conformity

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University of Alabama Libraries

Past research has questioned whether socially desirable responding should be controlled as a confounding variable or examined as a personality variable. As a personality variable, it has the potential to help explain many behaviors, including conformity. The current study examined whether socially desirable responding, specifically the moralistic and egoistic biases, are related to conforming behavior. Preference for Consistency and Self-Monitoring were also examined in relation to both conformity and socially desirable responding to further elucidate the relationships between them. Two hundred seventy-nine students participated in an online study. Two experimental conditions were used: participants were either identified as "Participant" (anonymous) or by first name and last initial (named). A control condition was also used. Using a Crutchfield (1955) paradigm, participants rated their preferences for 30 ambiguous images while seeing the ratings of 4 other fake (programmed) participants with the expectation that they would discuss their ratings in an online chat room after the experiment, although no such interaction actually occurred. No ratings were seen in the control condition. Participants also answered personality measures. Although significant conformity effects were found between the control and experimental conditions, there was no difference in conformity between the experimental conditions. This finding supports the research that conformity can be elicited in online studies. Conformity was not related to any of the personality variables measured nor were there any significant interactions between any personality variables and experimental condition. Potential weaknesses of the study and future directions for research are discussed

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Social psychology