Conformity - minority influence

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  • Created on: 11-01-13 07:31
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Conformity to minority influence:
1. Moscovici's research
2. Explaining minority influence
Moscovici's research:
Moscovici et al (1969):
Investigating the idea that conformity doesn't just occur with
compliance but with internalisation as well
Moscovici proposed that if the minority was consistent on its
view it will cause conflict in the other people, meaning they may
change their views.
They tested 32 groups of women 6 women in each group, 2 were
confederates and 4 were real participants. The group was
shown 36 blue slides, filters were used to change the shade of
blue shown
There were 3 parts to the experiment:
o Control groups ­ all participants, no confederates
o Consistent groups ­ confederates always say slide is green
o Inconsistent groups ­ confederates say slide is green 24 times and
blue 12 times
Overall the participants agreed with the minority on 8.42% of the trials,
32% of participants agreed with the minority at least once during the
experiment however when the minority was inconsistent conformity
dropped to 1.25%
Other research on minority influence:
Wood et al (1994) completed a meta-analysis of studies looking at minority
influence; they found that minorities that were perceived as consistent
were particularly influential. Majority group members would not conform
publicly but would conform privately as they don't want to be seen as
deviant like the minority group.
Explaining conformity to minority influence:
Moscovici's conversion theory (1980):
If an individual is exposed to an argument, which is contradictory to their
current view it causes conflict in their mind, people want to reduce the
conflict so analyse the minority argument in order to understand why
their views are different to that of the majority.
The argument set by the majority influence usually just leads people to
change their views even without looking at the message as they think
they should agree with that as the majority of people do whereas with
the minority people tend to look at the message they are setting so
people are more likely to internalize this message.
Evaluation of conversion theory:
Mackie (1987):
Challenged Moscovici's conversion theory, she claimed that it was not the
minority view but the majority view which presented the greater
message as people believe they tend to think the same way the majority

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When the majority view is different to their view they look into the
message more to see why there is a difference in opinion. People don't
think of themselves as part of the minority so ignore their views and
chose not to waste time processing their message.…read more


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