Minority Influence

Overview of minority influence and studies in it for AQA social influence

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  • Created by: Daisy
  • Created on: 23-05-12 20:55


  • Only female participants who had been checked for colour blindness
  • Were put into 3 groups of 6: consistent minority, inconsistent minority and control
  • Had to write down the colour of 36 slides that were a shade of blue
  • In the consistent and inconsistent groups, there were 4 naive participants and 2 confederates who had to try and influence the others

Consistent group

  • Confederates called ALL the slides green!
  • 8.42% conformity rate

Inconsistent group

  • Confederates called 2/3 (24/36) of the slides green!
  • 1.25% confomity rate

Control group

  • No confederates
  • 0.25% conformity rate
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He concluded that, to be more successful and to beat majority groups, minority groups have to be CONSISTENT


  • Lacked mundane realism
    • Artificial task that had no relevance to the outside world (lacked ecological validity) and had no consequences
  • Lacked validity
    • External: Trivial task that couldn't be generalised
    • Internal: May not have been measuring conformity properly due to demand characteristics
  • Simplified
    • In the real world, minorites have a lower social status and power than majorites so it is harder for them to be successful
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This led to the conversion theory:

  • Consistency from the minority groups...
  • ...leads to doubt and uncertainty: conflict in own ideas....
  • ....which leads to us examining the minority ideas in more detail...
  • .....leads to INTERNALISATION!!

Why does it take so long?


  • We accept minority ideas and forget the people who presented them
  • Because, we want to take on their message without taking on their negative identities
  • This takes time as we need to forget the source of the message
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  • About a ski compensation accident: participants were asked how much they thought the guy should receive
  • There were 2 groups:
    • 1 had a dogmatic confederate in
    • 1 had a flexible confederate in
  • Both confederates were trying to change the amount of money received by the guy to a minority view
  • FOUND that:
    • Dogmatic confederate had no effect
    • Flexible confederate managed to change the amount given to that of a minority

CONCLUDED...that to be successful, minorities should be flexible!

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CLARK 1998

This was based on the film '12 Angry Men' where a boy was accused of killing his father. The jury discuss and come to the conclusion he's guilty, however, one juror think's he's innocent and manages to change the other juror's minds by providing logical principles.

So, students were given a 4-page booklet outlining the case.

Some students got how many jurors changed their minds and some got the counter-arguments that this sold juror provided.

The found that the students who thought he was innocent were the ones that got the counter-arguments and how many jurors changed their minds (see snowball effect).

Therefore, in order to be successful, minorities have to act on principles!

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Once one member of the majority starts to move to the minority, others follow. This is how minorities gradually have an effect.

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  • 37% conformity
  • If people write answers down, there is less conformity as there is not so much pressure to conform and fit in
  • People are quick to conform


  • If people write answers down, there is more conformity (as they aren't outwardly physically conforming with the deviant minority)
  • Takes time to conform - social cryptoamnesia 
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