Sex differences in confidence influence patterns of conformity
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Lack of confidence in one's own ability can increase the likelihood of relying on social information. Sex differences in confidence have been extensively investigated in cognitive tasks, but implications for conformity have not been directly tested. Here, we tested the hypothesis that, in a task that shows sex differences in confidence, an indirect effect of sex on social information use will also be evident. Participants (N = 168) were administered a mental rotation (MR) task or a letter transformation (LT) task. After providing an answer, participants reported their confidence before seeing the responses of demonstrators and being allowed to change their initial answer. In the MR, but not the LT, task, women showed lower levels of confidence than men, and confidence mediated an indirect effect of sex on the likelihood of switching answers. These results provide novel, experimental evidence that confidence is a general explanatory mechanism underpinning susceptibility to social influences. Our results have implications for the interpretation of the wider literature on sex differences in conformity.
Cross , C P , Brown , G R , Morgan , T J H & Laland , K N 2017 , ' Sex differences in confidence influence patterns of conformity ' British Journal of Psychology , vol 108 , no. 4 , pp. 655-667 . DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12232
British Journal of Psychology
© 2016 The British Psychological Society. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12232
The research was supported in part by an ERC Advanced Grant (EVOCULTURE, Ref.232823) awarded to KNL.
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