The presence of norms in the absence of groups?

The impact of normative influence under hidden-profile conditions


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The impact of normative and informational influence was examined with respect to research on hidden profiles, which occur when the members of a group individually hold information favoring a low-quality decision but collectively have the information necessary to make a high-quality decision. Participants were presented with information relevant to a decision and a transcript of a group discussing that decision. The information was either a complete or an incomplete set that instantiated a hidden profile. The transcripts contained the complete set of information but varied the initial preferences of group members and the direction of their noninformational comments. Although extant research indicates that informational pressure should outweigh normative pressure in this context, this study found that when normative and informational influence are in conflict, participants' decisions conformed to normative pressures. The presence of norms and information also had consequences for participants' perceptions of task difficulty, task attractiveness, and decision quality.