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Child Dev. 2011 Nov-Dec;82(6):1759-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01666.x. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Conformity to peer pressure in preschool children.

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Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Portsmouth, Leipzig, Germany.


Both adults and adolescents often conform their behavior and opinions to peer groups, even when they themselves know better. The current study investigated this phenomenon in 24 groups of 4 children between 4;2 and 4;9 years of age. Children often made their judgments conform to those of 3 peers, who had made obviously erroneous but unanimous public judgments right before them. A follow-up study with 18 groups of 4 children between 4;0 and 4;6 years of age revealed that children did not change their "real" judgment of the situation, but only their public expression of it. Preschool children are subject to peer pressure, indicating sensitivity to peers as a primary social reference group already during the preschool years.

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