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Conformity of responses among graduate students in an online environment
Beran, Tanya · Drefs, Michelle · Kaba, Alyshah · Al Baz, Noof · Al Harbi, Nouf

PublishedApril 2015
JournalThe Internet and Higher Education
Volume 25, Pages 63-69
CountryCanada, North America

Despite 60 years of social–psychological research demonstrating that individuals are likely to conform to inaccurate information presented by group members, this phenomenon of conformity has yet to be studied in an online environment. A total of 53 graduate students visited a virtual classroom. Each one was able to see the names of three other students (confederates), while responding to 10 multiple choice questions about research. Participants who saw incorrect responses given by confederates before responding, obtained fewer correct responses (M = 6.78, SD = 1.82) than did participants who saw no responses from confederates (M = 8.08, SD = 1.09), F(1,51) = 9.78, p < 0.01, d = 0.33. Thus, this study supports the need for consideration of conformity behaviors within online learning activities.

Keywords conformity to the majority · peer pressure · higher education · online education

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