Peer influence: neural mechanisms underlying in-group conformity
- 1Department of Marketing Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- 2Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
People often conform to the behavior of others with whom they identify. However, it is unclear what fundamental mechanisms underlie this type of conformity. Here, we investigate the processes mediating in-group conformity by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants completed a perceptual decision-making task while undergoing fMRI, during which they were exposed to the judgments of both in-group and out-group members. Our data suggest that conformity to the in-group is mediated by both positive affect as well as the cognitive capacity of perspective taking. Examining the processes that drive in-group conformity by utilizing a basic decision-making paradigm combined with neuroimaging methods provides important insights into the potential mechanisms of conformity. These results may provide an integral step in developing more effective campaigns using group conformity as a tool for behavioral change.
Keywords: conformity, in-group bias, MRI imaging, judgment and decision-making, social influence
Citation: Stallen M, Smidts A and Sanfey AG (2013) Peer influence: neural mechanisms underlying in-group conformity. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:50. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00050
Received: 30 September 2012; Paper pending published: 06 November 2012;
Accepted: 06 February 2013; Published online: 08 March 2013.
Edited by: Leonie Koban
, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Copyright © 2013 Stallen, Smidts and Sanfey. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Mirre Stallen, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Room 1.40, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, Netherlands. e-mail: email@example.com