We love being part of a group . Being something more than an individual and helpless creature, ostracized, without anyone endorsing our ideas. It does not matter who they are as long as there are many and we feel supported by them.
For this reason the conspiranoids, the Nazis and any other group that surprises with their strange ideas are capable of forming groups ** so cohesive and alien to the criticism of others ** (let alone internal criticism). So much so that, as the following study showed, we even like to be part of a majority of robots (or a non-player character or non-playable character, within the terminology of video games).
Informative and normative compliance
There is already a robust scientific literature suggesting that people tailor their responses to match those of group members, even when they believe that the group’s response is incorrect .
In this new study , we tried to test whether people conform to groups of robots and whether robots cause informational compliance (believing the group is correct), normative compliance (feeling peer pressure), or both.
The participants sat around a table with three myKeepon robots . The MyKeepon robots are small yellow robots, which were dressed in colorful hats to give them a unique personality. The robots were present in the same room as the participant, as being physically close to the group has been shown to increase compliance.
In addition, the number of robots was chosen to be three because previous studies have shown that compliance increases with the number of agents but that there are no significant differences after having more than three agents. Each of the robots and the participant were given a personal tablet, and there was a shared screen that all agents could observe .
Humans’ compliance with robots was measured by the number of times the participants changed their preliminary responses to match those of the robot group in their final response.
Participants in conditions who received more information about robot responses conformed significantly more than those who were given less, indicating that informational compliance is present .
Participants in conditions where they knew they were a minority in their responses conformed more than those who did not know they were a minority. Additionally, they also reported that they felt more pressure to change their responses from the robots, and the amount of pressure they reported correlated with how often they complied, indicating regulatory compliance .
Therefore, the study authors conclude that robots can cause both informational and normative compliance in people . In other words: we do things so that others accept us, and if your hump is bigger than mine, then mine will annoy me less: