AS Psychology - Minority Influence

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A form of social influence in which a minority of people (sometimes just one person) persuade others to adopt their beliefs, attitudes or behaviours. Leads to internalisation or conversion, in which private attitudes are changed as well as public behaviours.

Important factors in minority influence include consistency, commintment and flexibility.


Over time, consistency in the minority’s view increases the amount of interest from other people. Ts consistency could be agreement within the minority group, i.e. they are all saying the same thing (synchronic consistency) or consistency over time, i.e. they have been saying the same thing for a long time now (diachronic consistency). Consistency makes other people start to rethink their own views and wonder whether the minority may have a point.


Sometimes minorities engage in quite extreme activities to draw attention to their views, such as putting themselves at risk, which demonstrates their commitment to their cause. This makes the majority pay more attention and then they are therefore more likely to consider that opinion (known as the augmentation principle).


Nemeth (1986) argued that being consistent is not the only important factor as sometimes it can be viewed negatively. For example, if you constantly repeat the same argument and behaviours this can be off-putting as it can be seen as rigid, dogmatic and inflexible. Members of the minority need to be prepared to adapt


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