唐红红,Zhu R.,Liang Z.,Zhang S.,苏凇(通讯作者),Liu C.,"Enhancing and weakening conformity in third-party punishment: The role of empathic concern",Journal of Behavioral Decision Making (ABS 3), 2023, 36(4), e2315. https://doi.org/10.1002/bdm.2315
Abstract:Conformity—shifting one's behavior patterns towards group norms—is both common and powerful. Prior research shows that conformity can drive behavioral patterns towards both positive and negative outcomes (e.g., environmentalism vs. anti-environmentalism). However, we know little about conformity in response to sanctions for norm violations. This research explores conformity in punishment for norm violations and how this behavior is enhanced or weakened by empathic concern (N = 1108). The participants acted as third parties to punish unfairness either in a third-party punishment game or in lifelike unfair allocation scenarios. They behaved in a group where other members inflicted either high or low punishment on the unfair proposers. The results of this study show that the participants conformed to both the high-punishment norm and the low-punishment norm, and their conformity persisted after removing the group context (Studies 1A and 1B). Studies 2A and 2B show that evoking empathic concern towards recipients (victims) in unfair situations increased the punishment of the dictator and diminished conformity to the low-punishment norm. Study 3 shows that the enhancement effect of empathic concern on conformity when embedded in the high-punishment norm strengthened over time, whereas the weakening effect of empathic concern on conformity among those representing a low-punishment norm declined over time. These findings extend the understanding of conformity and the role of emotion in this behavior, with the potential for conformity-modulating interventions.