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Social Support, Dissent and Conformity

Vernon L. Allen and John M. Levine
Sociometry
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Jun., 1968), pp. 138-149
DOI: 10.2307/2786454
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786454
Page Count: 12
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Social Support, Dissent and Conformity
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Abstract

The present study investigated the effect on conformity of direction and degree of dissent from the erroneous judgments of a simulated group. Results showed that in judging visual items, conformity was significantly reduced either by a dissenter giving the correct response or by dissenter giving a response much more incorrect than the group's. On opinion items the presence of a veridical dissenter significantly reduced conformity, but the presence of an extreme erroneous dissenter did not. It was suggested that for objective visual stimuli any response that breaks group consensus leads to rejecting the group; this rejection accounts for conformity reduction in the presence of either a veridical dissenter or an extreme erroneous dissenter. In contrast, for subjective opinion stimuli, the emotional support of a partner, provided by the veridical dissenter, seems necessary for conformity reduction.

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