Do experimental manipulations of pathogen avoidance motivations influence conformity?

Florian van Leeuwen*, Bastian Jaeger, Willem W A Sleegers, Michael Bang Petersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

By conforming to ingroup norms, individuals coordinate with other group members, preserve cohesion, and avoid costs of exclusion. Previous experiments have shown that increased concerns about infectious disease increase conformity. However, coordination with other group members has multiple benefits, most of which exist independent of pathogenic infection. Hence, a strong causal effect of pathogen avoidance motivations on conformity seems unlikely. Results from five experiments ( N = 1,931) showed only limited support for the hypothesis that experimentally increasing pathogen avoidance motivations influences conformity. Overall, our findings are not consistent with the notion that the human mind contains a fast-acting psychological mechanism that regulates conformity as a function of short-term pathogen avoidance motivations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

Keywords

  • AUTOCORRELATION
  • BEHAVIORAL IMMUNE-SYSTEM
  • DISEASE
  • DISGUST SENSITIVITY
  • ILLNESS
  • METAANALYSIS
  • THREAT
  • VARIABILITY
  • VOTING PREFERENCES
  • behavioral immune system
  • conformity
  • disgust
  • norms
  • pathogen avoidance

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