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Minority influence

Goal: Minority influence

Date: 1 September 2014

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Angelica Mucchi-Faina
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According to the literature on social influence, a minority source can induce two main cognitive processes: validation and divergence. The aim of the present study was to determine if the two processes are jointly or alternatively activated. We hypothesized that the process stimulated by the minority source would be different according to the personal relevance of the issue for the participants. Specifically, we predicted that a minority would induce more validation (i.e. ambivalent thoughts about the issue) in the low relevance condition rather than in the high relevance condition. On the other hand, the minority would produce more divergence (i.e. alternative proposals) in the high relevance condition rather than in the low relevance condition. Two experiments in which the participants were exposed to a counter-attitudinal message of a minority or a majority supported these predictions. Moreover, in Study 1 evidence has also been found that a minority source fosters more pertinent (but not more original) proposals in the high relevance condition rather than in the low relevance condition, whereas in Study 2 ambivalence (other than divergence) appeared to be correlated with, but not a significant mediator of, indirect influence. The implications of these findings for minority influence theory are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Serge Moscovici
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Minority influence
 
Serge Moscovici
added a research item
Serge Moscovici
added a research item
Moscovici, S. (2015). Psychologie des minorités actives. EcoRev', 42,(1), 5-14. https://www.cairn.info/revue-ecorev-2015-1-page-5.htm. Moscovici, S. (1996). Psychologie des minorités actives (introduction), Paris, PUF. Le point le plus important ici est qu'il nous faut adopter une perspective différente de celle que l'on a habituellement. Une totale compréhension des phénomènes d'influence exige que nous considérions la minorité, l'individu ou le sous-groupe en fonction de l'impact qu'ils peuvent avoir sur l'opinion du groupe. Jusqu'ici on ne les a considérés que comme des récepteurs d'influence ou des déviants : on doit maintenant les regarder aussi en tant qu'émetteurs d'influence et créateurs de normes en puissance. La nature de la vie sociale est telle que « l'hérésie d'une génération devient le lieu commun de la suivante ». Si nous acceptions un tel point de vue, le biais de conformisme s'en trouverait corrigé. Mais je ne voudrais pas simplement corriger le biais, je voudrais surtout mettre en relief deux idées qui sont étroitement liées. La première est que l'influence s'exerce dans deux directions : de la majorité vers la minorité et de la minorité vers la majorité. En d'autres termes, l'influence, loin d'être un effet unilatéral de la source sur la cible, est un processus réciproque qui implique action et réaction et de la source et de la cible. Si nous imaginons chaque membre du groupe, qu'il soit dans une position d'autorité ou qu'il soit déviant, qu'il appartienne à la majorité ou la minorité, comme étant à la fois un émetteur et un récepteur d'influence, nous sommes mieux en mesure de saisir ce qui lui arrive dans une véritable interaction sociale. Ceci implique la recherche, dans tous les cas, de relations symétriques. La seconde idée, sous-jacente à la première, est que chaque partie d'un groupe doit être considérée comme émetteur et récepteur simultanés d'influence. De façon plus concrète, lorsqu'il y a influence, chaque individu et sous-groupe, in-dépendamment de son statut, agit sur les autres qui au même moment agissent sur lui. Ainsi, une majorité qui tente d'imposer ses normes et son point de vue à une minorité subit en même temps la pression qu'exerce cette minorité pour se faire comprendre et pour faire accepter ses normes et son point de vue. Corrélativement, quand une minorité accède à une position de majorité, elle doit être capable de comprendre les motivations et les opinions qu'elle est (1) Traduit de l'anglais par Anne Rivière PUF, 3 ème édition, 1999.
Serge Moscovici
added a research item
This article presents the idea that during the 1990s an important change took place in relation between minorities and majorities: the emergence of minorities as victims alongside the formerly predominant active, militant minorities. A hypothesis is raised that these two types of minorities differ in their agenda as well as in the nature of the influence they exert. Active minorities trigger an external conflict with majority and induce conversion (latent rather than overt influence); minorities as victims create an internal conflict, a sense of guilt, within the majority, while they exert an exclusively overt influence. We report two experiments confirming our hypothesis. We discuss the novelty of this phenomenon and its relevance. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Serge Moscovici
added 17 research items
Research on minority influence, that is, the impact of an individual on the group or of a group on a collectivity, is of recent origin. Why did it take so long to recognize this influence? There are several reasons. One is the conception and model on which studies about group phenomena generally, and social influence in particular, were based. From the early days of social psychology until quite recently, interest was focused on conformity, on the way a group affects individuals and brings about social uniformities (Festinger, 1950). Another reason is the perspective from which relations between individuals and groups were mainly envisaged, that is, dependency. Hence the well-known formulation: The fundamental influence mechanism, in its various guises, is social dependency (power, competence, etc.). A final reason is the emphasis on the social control process, which is presumed to facilitate cohesion and to enable a group of individuals to reach its goals. The only function attributed to social influence is therefore the group’s social control over its members. Within this context deviants are presented as obstacles to group progress. They are viewed as “weak” individuals trying to reinsert themselves into the social system. These points are too familiar to delve into them at length. We only wish to point out that they underlie the classical view of groups and group dynamics (see Levine, 1980). Their joint effect has been to instill a conformity bias in social thought and research, as will become more evident when we examine each of these aspects in turn and look at them more closely.
L'importance actuelle des minorités repose précisément sur leur rôle de facteurs, et souvent d'agents novateurs, au sein d'une société où des changements ont lieu rapidement. Là où elles n'existent pas ou ne peuvent pas exister, il ne peut pas y avoir de changements, même si les lois de l'histoire nous assurent, en principe, du contraire. Une société sans minorités actives et déviantes est une chose aussi impossible et aussi irréalisable qu'un carré rond. Et les efforts dépensés pour les éviter ou les réprimer coûtent, à la longue, beaucoup plus cher qu'il en coûterait de pallier leurs conséquences, de même qu'il en coûte plus cher à une personne de se défendre à outrance contre ses conflits ou ses pulsions que de regarder en face quelques-uns de leurs effets désagréables. On peut le déplorer, mais, dans la société actuelle, il est certainement désirable que les innovations et les initiatives contestent et mettent au défi les fondements de " la loi " et de " l'ordre ".
Serge Moscovici
added 2 research items
Moscovici, S., Pérez, J.A., & Mugny, G. (1991). Effets de résistance à une source experte ou minoritaire et changement d'attitude. Revue Suisse de Psychologie, 50(4), 260-267.
Serge Moscovici
added 3 research items
How does a minority exert influence on a majority? Traditionally social psychologists have characterised influence as a process leading to conformity - the minority coming to accept the view of the majority. For the contributors to this volume, working in a society where the reverse process is frequently exemplified - a society characterised by change and innovation - such an approach is no longer tenable. They believe that only by examining social processes also in terms of minority influence can the paradox be resolved. The volume is organised into two broadly based but interconnected parts. Part I analyses the process of influence itself, while Part II sets it within the context of groups. The influence of minorities is thus located within the cognitive and social field in which interaction between minorities and majorities occurs. The original and dynamic research paradigms presented here and the theoretical and empirical results that are reported offer alternative insights not only into the phenomenon of influence per se, but also into such classical notions as 'the group' , 'deviance' and 'convergence'.
Serge Moscovici
added 3 research items
El fenómeno de la conversión abarca cualquier forma imaginable de cambio de opinión o de representación. Sea inconsciente, diferido o indirecto, necesariamente ese cambio es el resultado de una influencia, la cual, si no es exclusivo de las minorías activas, al menos está frecuentemente asociado a ellas. Traducción de: Psychologie de la conversion. Etudes sur l'influence incosciente Introducción del coloquio "Influencia minoritariael efecto de conversión", organizado en Ginebra en otoño de 1985 Incluye bibliografía
Two experiments dealing with the effects of a majority or a minority source influence, solely on the recognition of a portrait, let us study the generalization of the influence to a portrait symbolically linked to a colour. According to the theory of conversion, the bringing into play of the validation process of the stimulus when the source is a minority should allow such a generalization cognitive association. When the source is a majority, a social comparison process should lead to compliance about the portrait, without any cognitive investigation of the whole stimulus. In the first experiment, four slides were shown successively using material similar to Luchins' (1945) and progressively drawing the portrait of Lenin, with a red-orange background for each phase. The dependant variables are: (1) the drawing, (2) the colour of the background, (3) the after-image. On the two last slides for which the answer ‘Lenin’ is given by the source, changes towards red (and the complementary colour green), in the absence of the source under the minority influence, and changes towards orange under majority influence in the absence of the source are registered. Moreoever, the most significant changes of the colour judgment are due to the subjects who refuse to answer ‘Lenin’ during the interaction. In the second experiment, only the fourth slide, on which Lenin's portrait completely appears is shown. The subjects submitted to majority influence answer ‘Lenin’ more than the control group does, only in the presence of the source and change their judgment on the colour of the after-image towards the complementary of orange in the absence of the source. When the source is a minority a sinificant effect towards the red and its complementary colour is shown.
Serge Moscovici
added a research item
Moscovici, S., & Buschini, F. (2000). Les communications biaisées sont-elles plus efficaces que les communications non biaisées ? Journal de Psychologie. Académie des Sciences de Russie, 21(3), 20-33.
Serge Moscovici
added a research item
Twenty-one European and American researchers contribute their thoughts on a variety of topics relating to minority influence. The authors grapple such issues as the power of minorities to provide social change; the minorities' capacity to induce divergent thinking; group polarization; the place of historical method and the importance of field study. Contributions are grouped into three sections representing theory, limits of study, and methods. Some examples: In part one, Crano analyzes the role of social comparison processes and provides an integrative model. In part two, Worchel argues that groups evolve over time in a predictable manner and that the impact of the minority will depend on the stage of group development. In part three, Personnaz and Personnaz explain the importance of the spectrometer method.