Conformity to the Opinions of Other People Lasts for No More Than 3 Days

Yi HUANG, Keith M. KENDRICK, Rongjun YU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


When people are faced with opinions different from their own, they often revise their own opinions to match those held by other people. This is known as the social-conformity effect. Although the immediate impact of social influence on people's decision making is well established, it is unclear whether this reflects a transient capitulation to public opinion or a more enduring change in privately held views. In an experiment using a facial-attractiveness rating task, we asked participants to rate each face; after providing their rating, they were informed of the rating given by a peer group. They then rerated the same faces after 1, 3, or 7 days or 3 months. Results show that individuals' initial judgments are altered by the differing opinions of other people for no more than 3 days. Our findings suggest that because the social-conformity effect lasts several days, it reflects a short-term change in privately held views rather than a transient public compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1393
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number7
Early online date21 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the National Natural Scientific Foundation of China (Grant 31371128 to R. Yu) and by the Scientific Research Foundation of Graduate School of South China Normal University (Grant 2013kyjj060 to Y. Huang).


  • decision making
  • long-term effect
  • social conformity


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