- Majority and minority influence: A dual role interpretation
- European Review of Social Psychology
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- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This chapter offers an analysis of majority vs. minority influence using the Heuristic-Systematic Model of persuasion (HSM). We evaluate evidence for and against leading perspectives such as Conversion Theory. Next, research and theory is reviewed suggesting that majority vs. minority influence differentially affect the processing of persuasive arguments. A dual-role interpretation of majority and minority influence is presented. First, numerical support for discrepant messages affects the decision to engage in systematic processing. Majority support is motivating in itself, whereas minority messages are processed systematically only when neglecting the message is difficult. Second, we propose that majority-supported arguments most probably elicit convergent processing, while minority-supported arguments may elicit divergent processing. Convergent processing may lead to focal change accompanied by change on related issues, whereas divergent processing at best elicits related change.
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