Minority influence leading to social change

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Research into minority influence

Moscovici et al (1969)

Moscovici investigated whether or not a consistent minority could influence a majority to give an incorrect answer in a visual perception task. Groups of 6 participants were asked to estimate the colour of 36 slides. All of the slides were blue, but of varying shades, and 2 of the participants were confederates of the experimenter. There were two conditions: in the consistent condition the 2 confederates consistently stated that the slides were green not blue; and in the inconsistent condition they stated the slides were green on 24 of the 36 trials, and blue on the other 12 trials. Participants in the consistent condition conformed to the minority on 8.4% of the trials (compared with 1.3% in the inconsistent condition), and 32% of participants conformed at least once. This shows that a consistent minority can influence members of a majority to make an incorrect judgement.

Behavioural styles of influential minorities

According to Moscovici an influential minority must possess several behavioural characteristics to succeed in creating social change.  Consistency;  Consistent minority was almost eight times more successful than the inconsistent one. Commitment; A committed minority shows the majority just how much it believes in its cause. Persuasiveness; The ability to put across a persuasive argument that makes sense. Majority member must

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