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Abstract

This study considered whether participants' tendency to conform to a group norm could be influenced by priming them with categories associated with either conformity or anarchy. Participants were primed with one of two categories: ‘accountant prime’, ‘punk prime’ (plus a baseline ‘no prime’). They then participated in a variant of the Asch (1951) conformity paradigm. Results indicated that ‘punk’-primed participants conformed significantly less than did ‘accountant’-primed participants, with the mean for the ‘no-prime’ condition lying in between the two. ‘Accountant’-primed participants conformed to the group norm more than did the ‘no-prime’ participants. In addition, the performance of ‘punk’-primed participants was comparable to that of participants who performed the judgment task in isolation (‘solo’ condition). This indicates that conformity pressures did not affect estimates for ‘punk’-primed participants. Implications of these findings are discussed. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.