Prototypicality of arguments and conformity to ingroup norms

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Abstract

Social categorization is claimed to elicit a tendency to conform to ingroup norms, which may result in attitude change after exposure to information on the opinions of other ingroup members. It was hypothesized that the degree to which arguments represented ingroup norms, i.e., were prototypical, would affect their potential influence on attitudes, such that prototypical arguments would be perceived as being of higher quality and would elicit more attitude change. Moreover, prototypical arguments were expected to elicit more argument elaboration. Two experiments were designed to test these predictions. In Experiment 1 subjects were exposed to both a set of pro and a set of contra arguments, while one of the sets was allegedly prototypical of ingroup attitudes. In Experiment 2 subjects were exposed to either prototypical or a-prototypical pro or contra arguments allegedly originating from in- or outgroup. In both studies conformity to ingroup norms was observed. In addition, prototypical ingroup arguments elicited higher quality ratings in the first study. Indications of higher elaboration of prototypical ingroup arguments were found.

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