Conformist opinion shift as an accommodation-motivated cognitive experience in strong and weak situations

Ka Yee Angela LEUNG, Singapore Management University
Wing Mun Evelyn Au, Singapore Management University
C-y. Chiu


The authors introduce accommodation motivation as an individual difference construct that predicts personal preference to display conformist opinion shift, or the tendency to align opinion of the self with that of the group. The authors hypothesize that the relationship between accommodation motivation and conformist opinion shift will be stronger when the situational press for conformity is weak. Having clarified the conceptual meaning of accommodation motivation, the authors present evidence from two experiments that accommodation-motivated individuals readily display conformist opinion shift in anticipation of discussing with disagreeing others when conformity demand is weak (vs. strong). The second experiment offers initial support for a mediated interaction model: Accommodation-motivated individuals' conformist opinion shift was attributable to the heightened experience of conflict-related emotions that ensued from misalignment of personal and group opinions. The authors discuss the implications for measuring accommodation motivation as an individual difference in using group's traits, values, and beliefs as the reference for the self.