The influence of implicit social pressure on prosocial behavior of adolescents

(1) Keizer Karel College, Amstelveen, The Netherlands, (2) Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Adolescents are easily influenced by their peers, resulting in a phenomenon known as social pressure, which can have both positive and negative effects on the teens. This study addresses the influence of implicit social pressure on prosocial behavior (e.g., voluntary acts that benefit someone else) in adolescents aged 12–19. Specifically, this experiment measured the influence of prosocial, neutral, and antisocial pressure on sharing. This study consisted of 2 parts, part 1 (N = 101) and part 2 (N = 16). In a game similar to a dictator game, participants divided money between themselves and four teammates with whom they did a school project. Participants received manipulated social pressure by showing an example of how the money can be divided. We hypothesized that participants would share more after receiving implicit prosocial pressure, and that girls would share more than boys. Our results indicate that there was no difference in the way participants divided the money in the prosocial, neutral, and antisocial condition. In addition, there was also no statistically significant difference between boys and girls. These findings may implicate that implicit social pressure has no influence on adolescents’ behavior. However, methodological and contextual factors like the COVID-19 pandemic need to be considered.

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developmental psychology psychology social sciences