Sex differences in conformity: Surveillance by the group as a determinant of male nonconformity

Alice H. Eagly*, Wendy Wood, Lisa Fishbaugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


75 male and 71 female undergraduates met in groups containing 2 males and 2 females and received each other's opinions, which were represented as deviating from the opinions that Ss had given earlier. Ss then gave their opinions with the other group members either having or not having surveillance over these opinions. Only with surveillance was males' conformity significantly less than females' conformity. Males' conformity with surveillance was also significantly less than males' or females' conformity without surveillance. Interpretation focuses on (a) the compatibility of nonconformity with the emphasis of the male gender role on independence from other people and (b) the greater likelihood that males' (vs females') nonconformity will result in successful influence over other group members. No support was obtained for a hypothesized tendency for women to be especially conforming because of their concern about harmony in interpersonal relationships. (62 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981


  • group surveillance &
  • sex, attitude conformity, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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