Minority Influence

  • Minority influence leads to internalisation - both public behaviour and private beliefs are changed.
  • Three processes: consistency, commitment, flexibility
  • Consistency makes others rethink their own views.
    Synchronic consistency (people in the minority are all saying the same thing)
    Diachronic consistency (they've been saying the same thing for some time)
  • Activities must create some risk to the minority to demonstrate commitment to the cause.
  • Augmentation principle: majority pay even more attention.
  • Nemeth argued that being consistent and repeating the same arguments and behaviours are seen as rigid and off-putting to the majority.
  • Instead, the minority should adapt their point of view and accept reasonable counter-arguments.
  • Over time, more people become 'converted' - switch from the minority to the majority. The more this happens, the faster the rate of conversion. Gradually, the minority view becomes the majority and social change has occurred.

Moscovici et al (1969) The blue-green slides

  • A group of six people viewed a set of 36 blue-green coloured slides varying in intensity, then stated whether the slides were blue or green.
  • The study had three conditions:
    Confederates consistently said the slides were green
    Confederates were inconsistent about the colour of the slides
    A control group - no confederates.
  • Consistent minority condition: participants gave the same wrong answer on 8.42% of trials; 32% gave the same answer on at least one trial.
  • Inconsistent minority condition: agreement fell to 1.25%.
  • Control group: participants wrongly identified colour 0.25% of the time.


  • Research


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