Minority influence (Moscovici, Nemeth)

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  • Minority influence
    • A small group of people (the minority) influences the opinion of fa much larger group (the majority)
    • Consistency = consistent and unchanging in views.
      • Diachronic consistency = consistency over time
      • Synchronic consistency = consistency between the members of a group
      • Augmentation principle = Refusal to back down, majority may assume they have a point.
      • Moscovici showed participants 36 blue slides of different shades and intensities, asked them to report what colour they saw (2 confederates = minority, 4 participants = majority)
        • 1st part, confederates said green for all (they were consistent) and 8% of participants said green.
        • 2nd part, confederates said green for 12 and blue for 12 (they were inconsistent), 1% of participants said green
    • Commitment = Self confidence and dedication to a cause.
      • Augmentation principle = Refusal to back down, majority may assume they have a point.
    • Flexibility = Compromising so less likely to be seen as extreme, more cooperative and reasonable.
      • Nemeth used a mock jury (1 confederate and 3 participants) on deciding the amount that should be paid to the victim of a ski lift accident
        • Condition 1) Low offer and refused to changed = No effect on majority
        • Condition 2) Low offer but compromising = majority also compromised and changed their view to move towards minority
    • Evaluation
      • Moscovici used a bias sample of 172 female participants from America. As a result, we are unable to generalise the results to other populations
        • Research suggests that females are more likely to conform and therefore further research is required to determine the effect of minority influence on male participants.
      • Moscovici has been criticised for deceiving his participants, were told that they were taking part in a colour perception test (did not get fully informed consent)
        • Unethical but justified as participants might have acted differently and so results would not be as genuine


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