Going along versus going alone: When fundamental motives facilitate strategic (non)conformity

Vladas Griskevicius, Noah J. Goldstein, Chad R. Mortensen, Robert B. Cialdini, Douglas Kenrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


Three experiments examined how 2 fundamental social motives - self-protection and mate attraction - influenced conformity. A self-protective goal increased conformity for both men and women. In contrast, the effects of a romantic goal depended on sex, causing women to conform more to others' preferences while engendering nonconformity in men. Men motivated to attract a mate were particularly likely to nonconform when (a) nonconformity made them unique (but not merely a member of a small minority) and when (b) the topic was subjective versus objective, meaning that nonconformists could not be revealed to be incorrect. These findings fit with a functional evolutionary model of motivation and behavior, and they indicate that fundamental motives such as self-protection and mate attraction can stimulate specific forms of conformity or nonconformity for strategic self-presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-294
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Fear
  • Mating goals
  • Nonconformity
  • Self-presentation
  • Social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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