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Conformity: Definitions, Types, and Evolutionary Grounding
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. University of Sussex, UK .
Number of Authors: 2
2015 (English)In: Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychology / [ed] Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Lisa L. M. Welling, Todd K. Shackelford, New York: Springer, 2015, 189-202 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Conformity research in social psychology spans a century, but researchers have only adopted an evolutionary perspective in the past 25 years. This change has been driven by gene-culture coevolutionary models and research on nonhuman animals. In this chapter, we outline why there is a credible basis for an evolutionary explanation for widespread behavioral conformity in humans. However, we caution that not all conformity in humans is the same because conforming in a perceptual judgment task in the laboratory (as per the Asch paradigm) is not equivalent to being an unwitting participant in a behavioral field study. Moreover, conformity has not been consistently defined across research disciplines, which hampers a valid assessment of its evolutionary origins. Theoretical models within social psychology and the study of gene-culture coevolution are valuable tools in the quest for evolutionary explanations of conformist behavior; they have utilized gained insights while inspiring simulations and empirical tests. We propose the idea of incorporating individuals’ habit adherence into the models to advance the study of conformity. Conformity is a powerful force in human decision making and is best understood from an evolutionary perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer, 2015. 189-202 p.
, Evolutionary Psychology-Series, ISSN 2197-9898
Keyword [en]
Conformity, Social psychology, Gene-culture coevolution, Conformist transmission, Frequency-dependent transmission, Habits, Cooperation, Evolutionary psychology
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131487DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-12697-5_15ISI: 000374481600015ISBN: 978-3-319-12697-5ISBN: 978-3-319-12696-8OAI: diva2:940798
Available from: 2016-06-21 Created: 2016-06-20 Last updated: 2016-06-21Bibliographically approved

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