OPEN Journal of adolescence | 29 Jul 2017
LJ Knoll, JT Leung, L Foulkes and SJ Blakemore
Adolescents are particularly susceptible to social influence. Here, we investigated the effect of social influence on risk perception in 590 participants aged eight to fifty-nine-years tested in the United Kingdom. Participants rated the riskiness of everyday situations, were then informed about the rating of these situations from a (fictitious) social-influence group consisting of teenagers or adults, and then re-evaluated the situation. Our first aim was to attempt to replicate our previous finding that young adolescents are influenced more by teenagers than by adults. Second, we investigated the social-influence effect when the social-influence group’s rating was more, or less, risky than the participants' own risk rating. Younger participants were more strongly influenced by teenagers than by adults, but only when teenagers rated a situation as more risky than did participants. This suggests that stereotypical characteristics of the social-influence group - risk-prone teenagers - interact with social influence on risk perception.
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