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The Power of a Co-witness: When More Power Leads to More Conformity


Correspondence to: Rolando N. Carol, MMC, Department of Psychology, Florida International University, DM 256, 11200 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199, USA.



The effect of the power dynamic between co-witnesses on memory conformity for images was investigated. Participant–confederate pairs were first presented with 50 images on a computer and then were randomly assigned to one of three social power role combinations analogous to those present in the workplace: manager and subordinate, subordinate and manager, or collaborators with equal power and status. After role assignment (but without ever engaging in the role-related tasks), pairs were tested on whether each of 100 images (50 old and 50 new) had or had not been shown previously. Confederates always responded before participants. Subordinates were significantly less likely to conform than managers. Findings are discussed in light of the work-related facet of social power and memory distortion. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.