Does the age and familiarity of the informant group influence the tendency of 3- and 4-year-old children to conform?

Nicola McGuigan, Amy Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The authors' aim was to explore whether the age and the familiarity of the individuals comprising a group majority influenced the tendency of 3- and 4-year-old children to conform. Participants were presented with 2 variants of a novel task in which they were required to judge which of 3 line-drawn tigers had the greatest number of stripes. The participants made their judgments in 2 contexts, first after viewing 5 informants perform the task incorrectly, and second without viewing the responses of other individuals. The informants comprised a group of familiar children, a group of unfamiliar children, a group of familiar adults, or a group of unfamiliar adults. The results showed that the children displayed selective conformity with respect to informant age, readily adopting the incorrect response when it was indicated by an adult majority, but failing to do so when the same incorrect response was indicated by a majority of children. In contrast the familiarity of the individuals comprising the majority had little influence on the tendency of children to conform. These results suggest that children are not blanket conformists, rather they respond selectively depending on characteristics of the individuals comprising the group majority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-130
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Conformity
  • Informant familiarity
  • Informant age
  • Majority influence

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