1. Unanimity - a unanimous majority (of at least 3 to 5 people) against one solo person has a powerful influence. But having just one other dissenter who disagrees with the majority can greatly reduce conformity pressure.
2. Commitment - making a public statement in front of others and then hearing the majority's opinion, is psychologically very different than hearing the majority's opinion first and then having to make your opinion public. The latter leads to conformity about 33% of the time, but the former rarely leads to conformity (at least in individualistic cultures) because people ironically want to conform to the social norm in our culture of NOT appearing to be a conformist.
3. Accountability - when you expect to have to publicly defend your answer to the group AND you have the goal of being accurate, the combination tends to lead to significantly less conformity. But both components are needed.
4. Cultural differences - individualistic cultures have plenty of conformity, but as noted above, appearing to be independent and not conforming is valued in these cultures. In contrast, in collectivistic cultures, being independent and "free-thinking" isn't valued as highly, and conformity pressures are greater.
5. Individual differences - on average, men and women do not differ greatly in their level of conformity, as it depends on the situation and the task. The bigger factor is one's level of self-esteem. Individuals with chronic or temporarily lowered levels of self-esteem are more likely to conform to others as a way to gain approval, reassurance, social affirmation. This may be the result of both perceived normative social influence (they feel less comfortable risking social rejection) and informational social influence (they lack confidence in their own judgment and are therefore more willing to accept others' views as being correct).
10th Edition•ISBN: 9780134641287 (1 more)Elliot Aronson, Robin M. Akert, Timothy D. Wilson 10th Edition•ISBN: 9780134700724Elliot Aronson, Robin M. Akert, Samuel R. Sommers, Timothy D. Wilson 10th Edition•ISBN: 9780134700724Elliot Aronson, Robin M. Akert, Samuel R. Sommers, Timothy D. Wilson 5th Edition•ISBN: 9780357700792Brad J. Bushman, Roy F. Baumeister