Can Conformity Bias Transcend Domain Specificity Under Social Dilemma Situations?

  • Minami Natsumeda Hiroshima Shudo University
  • Kunihiro Yokota Hiroshima Shudo University
  • Daisuke Nakanishi Hiroshima Shudo University
Keywords: conformity bias, cultural group selection, social dilemma, ingroup cooperation, domain specificity


We examined whether conformity bias was observed in social dilemma situations. Cultural group selection theory argues that conformity can establish a cooperative group in a society, which has been theoretically and empirically supported. However, conformity bias has not been examined in most previous studies. Conformity bias refers to the bias that an individual adopts the majority member’s behavior (e.g., 60%) with a probability exceeding it (e.g., 80%). Researchers have been theoretically and empirically shown that conformity bias was an adaptive strategy under information-seeking situations. However, there is little empirical evidence to test whether conformity bias can function even in the domain specific to ingroup cooperation. One hundred fifty-nine of crowdsource individuals participated in a vignette experiment wherein they read 14 scenarios that described social dilemma situations in daily life. Participants answered whether they would cooperate with ingroup members when they have informed four patterns of cooperators within an ingroup, 0%, 33.3%, 66.7%, and 100%. The results showed that no conformity bias was observed in all social dilemma situations.

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