Minority influence

Minority influence

Creates conversion process - provided minority adopt consistent + committed approach, people scrutinise message itself. Want to understand why minority hold position -> conversion to minority position deeper + longer lasting as have internalised minority's POV. 

To bring conversion process, minorities must adopt particular behavioural style of being consisten, committed + flexible in arguments.

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Originally assume minority view is wrong. If minority adopt consistent approach, others reassess situation, consider issue more carefully - must be reason minority takes position + is sufficiently confident to maintain over time.

Wood et al (1994) - meta-analysis 97 studies of MI - minorities who were perceived as being especially consistent were particularly influential. Importance of consistency demonstrated on Moscovici et al key study.

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Important as suggest certainty, confidence + courage in face of hostile majority. As joining minority has greater cost, degree of commitment typically greater. Greater commitment may persuade majority to take them seriously or convert to minority position.

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Mugny (1982) - suggest flexibility more effecting than rigidity of arguments. Minorities typically powerless compared to majority - must negotiate position rather than try + enforce it.

Mugny distinguished b/ween rigid + flexible negotiating styles - rigid minority refuses to compromise risks being perceives as dogmatic. Minority too flexible sees as inconsistent.

Neither approach effective at persuading majority, but Mugny claims some degree of flexibility more effective than none.

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Moscovici et al (1969) - Procedure

Each group, 4 naive participant + minority of 2 confederates. Shown series of blue slides, varied in intensity, asked to judge colour of each slide.

In 'consistent' condition, 2 confederates repeatedly called blue slides 'green'.

In 'inconsistent' condition, called slides 'green' on 2/3 of trials, 'blue' in remaining 1/3.

Control condition, 6 naive participants + no confederates, called slides 'blue' throughout.

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Moscovici et al (1969) - Findings

Showed consistent minority influenced naive participants to say 'green' on over 8% trials. Inconsistent minority little influence, didn't differ much from control group. 

After main study, participants asked individually to sort 16 coloured discs into 'blue' or 'green'. 3 of discs unambigiously from blue end of colour spectrum, 3 green. Remaining ambigious, could be considered either. To do this, had to establish threshold point, one side judged 'blue', other side 'green'. 

Those in 'consistent' + 'inconsistent' set thresholds at diff points, result those in consistent judged more of chips to be green than inconsistent. Effect greater for those who hadn't gone along w/ minority during experiment - suggests initial influence more private than public level.

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Evaluation - Strengths

Flexibility - Nemeth + Brilmayer (1987) - simulated jury situation, group members discussed amount of compensation to be paid to someone in ski-lift accident. When confederate put forward alternative POV + refused to change position,no effect on other group members. Confederate who compromised, did exert influence on majority. However, only evident in those who shifted late in negotiations (showing flexibility).

Nemeth (2010) - dissent in form of minority opinion opens mind - result of exposure to minority position, people search for infor, consider more options etc, make better decisions. Liberate people to say what they believe. View supported by Van Dyne + Saavedra (1996) - studied role of dissent in work groups - found groups had improved decision quality when exposed to minority perspective.

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Evaluation - Weaknesses

Mackie (1987) - views of minority don't necessarily -> greater processing - majority more likley. Tend to believe majority share similar beliefs to ours. If majority express diff view, must consider it carefully to understand why. Tend not to waste time trying to process why minority's message diff - less influential.

Nemeth (2010) - still diff to convince people of value of dissent. Accept principle only on surface - quickly become irritated by dissenting view that persists + fear lack of harmony w/in group by welcoming dissent. Attempt to belittle this view. People encouraged to fit in, fear repercussions. Means majority view persists, opps for innovative thinking associated w/ MI lost.

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