Neural Correlates Associated with Conformity Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood

35 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2022

See all articles by Matt Minich

Matt Minich

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Emily B. Falk

University of Pennsylvania

Nicole Cooper

University of Pennsylvania

Dani Cosme

University of Pennsylvania

Hang-Yee Chan

King’s College London

Rui Pei

University of Pennsylvania

Matthew Brook O’Donnell

University of Pennsylvania

Christopher N. Cascio

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Abstract

Social influence affects us throughout life, shaping our attitudes, behaviors, and preferences. Thus, the current study aimed to examine whether key periods of development (adolescence versus young adulthood) were associated with differences in neural correlates associated with processing social feedback and conformity (i.e., conflict detection, positive valuation, and mentalizing processes) among young men. We recruited 153 participants across 5 studies, who completed a social influence task during an fMRI scan. Overall, participants were more likely to conform by changing their ratings when misaligned with others, and adolescents were more likely to conform when misaligned with others compared to young adults. Further, we found that adolescents showed increased activity in mentalizing and positive valuation regions, compared to young adults, in response to misalignment with others. In contrast, young adults showed increased activity in conflict detection regions when exposed to feedback that they were misaligned with others and when conforming to that feedback. Overall, our results offer initial evidence that adolescent and young adult men engage different neural processes when they find out they are misaligned with others and when conforming to the recommendations of others, and this difference appears to track with brain responses in conflict detection, mentalizing and value regions.

Keywords: social influence, conformity, development, conflict monitoring, fMRI

Suggested Citation

Minich, Matt and Falk, Emily B. and Cooper, Nicole and Cosme, Dani and Chan, Hang-Yee and Pei, Rui and O’Donnell, Matthew Brook and Cascio, Christopher N., Neural Correlates Associated with Conformity Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4225622 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4225622

Matt Minich (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

Emily B. Falk

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Nicole Cooper

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Dani Cosme

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Hang-Yee Chan

King’s College London ( email )

Rui Pei

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Matthew Brook O’Donnell

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Christopher N. Cascio

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

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