Evidence for a two-step model of social group influence


Social group influence plays an important role in societally relevant phenomena such as rioting and mass panic. One way through which groups influence individuals is by directing their gaze. Evidence that gaze following increases with group size has typically been explained in terms of strategic processes. Here, we tested the role of reflexive processes. In an ecologically valid virtual reality task, we found that participants were more likely to follow the group’s gaze when more people looked, even though they knew the group provided no relevant information. Interestingly, participants also sometimes changed their mind after starting to follow the gaze of the group, indicating that automatic imitation can be overruled by strategic processes. This suggests that social group influence is best explained by a two-step model in which bottom-up imitative processes first elicit a reflexive tendency to imitate, before top-down strategic processes determine whether to execute or inhibit this reflex.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2022.104891
Additional Information: © 2022. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biological sciences,General
Publication ISSN: 2589-0042
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2024 08:14
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2022 07:27
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Related URLs: https://www.cel ... Fshowall%3Dtrue (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-09-16
Published Online Date: 2022-08-06
Accepted Date: 2022-08-03
Authors: Cracco, Emiel
Bernardet, Ulysses (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4659-3035)
Sevenhant, Robbe
Vandenhouwe, Nette
Copman, Fran
Durnez, Wouter
Bombeke, Klaas
Brass, Marcel



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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