Majority or Minority Influence

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This essay concerns social influence in general. Aspects of social influence as such as majority influence and minority influence will be discussed in terms of their underlying psychological processes and how they differ. Majority influence or conformity refers to the desire to belong or to fit in within a particular group which involves adopting certain attributes, behaviour and attitudes of a particular group. As a result individuals consequently experience group pressure (in Baron, Branscombe &ump; Byrne 2008). Minority influence on the other hand, refers to the influence that the minority exert over the majority in that the majority come to accept the beliefs and behaviours of a minority (in Baron et al. 2008). A considerable body of research has been injected into the nature and impact of both majority and minority influences. Moscovici (1980 in Hogg and Vaughan 2007) claimed that both majorities and minorities exert influence in different ways. One psychological process underlying majority influence is through direct public compliance. The dual-process dependency model which was postulated by Deutsch and Gerard, (1955 in Hogg and Vaughan 2007) proposes two important motives for conformity: normative social influence and informational social influence. Normative social influence refers to the need to be accepted and approved by society. This involves individuals to modify their behaviours and to adopt new/current ones that are associated with the particular social group so that they are not rejected (in Hogg &ump; Vaughan 2007). An example of this situation can be reflected in Asch’s (1956 in Baron et al. 2008) study of conformity in which participants conformed to the majority group but at the same time maintained their own private opinions and disagreed. This process is known as compliance (in Bailey, J.et al. 2008). The second motive that explains why people conform according to Deutsch and Gerard, (1955) is based on informational social influence....
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