Group dissonance describes a state of psychological discomfort that arises from an interpersonal source (e.g., an individual holding a position discrepant from that of the group). Recent research has shown that group-level dissonance reduction may explain conformity in small group settings (Matz & Wood, 2005). The present research shows that the motivation to accommodate may moderate group-level dissonance, such that only accommodation-motivated individuals, probably due to a strong desire to align personal and group opinions, would experience group dissonance. In Study 1, we validated a newly developed individual difference measure of accommodation motivation (AMS) and used a scenario to test the relationship-specificity hypothesis: only micro-accommodation motivation should predict yielding to people in the micro-environment (e.g., close friends) and only macro-accommodation motivation should predict yielding to people in the macro-environment (e.g., a student group in the university). In Study 2, participants first filled out the AMS. Next, they indicated their position on several social issues in preparation for participating in an alleged group discussion. The experimental setup allowed them to know prior to the discussion whether the group members agreed or disagreed with them. They were required to engage in discussion of the selected issue only, with the group trying to reach consensus at the end. Finally, they completed a dissonance discomfort measure and indicated the position on the chosen issue they expected themselves to take in the pending discussion. In Study 1, we found evidence for the psychometric properties of the AMS. Further, results showed that micro-accommodation predicts yielding to the influence of a close friend, whereas macro-accommodation predicts yielding to a pressure group in one’s institution. Study 2 showed that accommodation motivation predicted higher likelihood of opinion shift and greater intensity of dissonance discomfort when participants were exposed to disagreeing others in a group discussion setting with low situational demand for conformity (when they needed to discuss only). This research extends previous literature by identifying accommodation motivation as another individual difference moderator of group-level dissonance. The idea that people may willingly accommodate to others’ concerns and preferences challenges the entrenched assumption that accommodation always undermines autonomy.
- group-level dissonance,
- accommodation motivation,
- individual difference measure,
- opinion shift,
- dissonance discomfort
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kayeeangela_leung/33/