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Keywords:

  • Social conformity;
  • Autonomy;
  • P1;
  • EEG

Abstract

In a previous study, we showed that virtually simulated social group pressure could influence early stages of perception after only 100 ms. In the present EEG study, we investigated the influence of social pressure on visual perception in participants with high (HA) and low (LA) levels of autonomy. Ten HA and ten LA individuals were asked to accomplish a visual discrimination task in an adapted paradigm of Solomon Asch. Results indicate that LA participants adapted to the incorrect group opinion more often than HA participants (42% vs. 30% of the trials, respectively). LA participants showed a larger posterior P1 component contralateral to targets presented in the right visual field when conforming to the correct compared to conforming to the incorrect group decision. In conclusion, our ERP data suggest that the group context can have early effects on our perception rather than on conscious decision processes in LA, but not HA participants.