C.K.W. de Dreu
N.K. de Vries
- Differential processing and attitude change following majority versus minority arguments
- British Journal of Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 1
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This experiment tested the general hypothesis that majority influence induces convergent processing, which stimulates attitude change on focal issues, whereas minority influence sometimes produces divergent processing, which might stimulate change on related attitudes. Results of a numerical support (majority vs. minority) by outcome involvement (high vs. low) experiment with attitude change and cognitive activity as dependent variables yielded partial support for these predictions. Majority arguments caused more attitude change on the focal issue than minority arguments, especially under high outcome involvement; no effects, however, were found for attitudes towards related issues. Consistent with expectations also was the result that, especially under high outcome involvement, cognitive activity predicted attitude change on the focal issue in the case of majority support, but generalization to related issues in the case of minority support for persuasive arguments. Results are interpreted as consistent with the general conclusion (a) that majority support is more effective than minority support in eliciting attitude change on focal issues, (b) that both majority and minority support elicit cognitive activity, which predicts attitude change on focal issues in the case of majority support, but generalization in the case of minority support and (c) that these processes are especially strong when there is motivation to engage in systematic processing of persuasive arguments.
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