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Critically evaluate research concerned with decision making in groups. Give attention to minority and majority group influences

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Introduction

Critically evaluate research concerned with decision making in groups. Give attention to minority and majority group influences Lewin (1948) states the definition of a group was "a dynamic whole based on interdependence", and Newcomb (1957), "Shared norms and interlocking roles". Both definitions share two common features of norms and independence. This suggests that a group works around some form of 'normality' and 'mutuality' and therefore it is presumptuous that group decision-making would show apparent signs of 'mutual' agreement and 'normal' outcome. It may be that those individuals exposed to decision making in groups may show these signs due to fear of ridicule and would therefore keep their true opinions to themselves. Or perhaps this 'mutual agreement' between the majorities has actually influenced the individual to change their opinion. Alternatively, can the minority influence the majority, and if so, how? Majority influence is the term used when talking about an individual conforming to a viewpoint of the majority, usually a group or organization that they follow. Studies done on the issue of majority influence are conducted to find how real the trend of 'conformity' is, and whether or not majority influence really does change the minds of individuals, or do individuals only agree overtly but keep their own views private. ...read more.

Middle

Others claimed that their reason for conformity was simply to avoid being seen as an 'outcast' even though they knew that the answer was wrong. From these findings we can see that both the groups despite having conformed and changed their judgements to those of the confederates still internally believed that their judgement was correct. As so the influence was not able to truly change their mind, however they did conform in public. Although it was found that when this same experiment was replicated only this time with 16 na�ve participants and 1 confederate, the answers given by the confederate were mocked and so the fear of being laughed at for giving the wrong answer had disappeared for the participants. It seems that the decision made by the individual when in a group depends on the environment and on the individuals themselves. By looking closely at the findings by Asch we see that there were participants who did conform at all throughout the entire experiment, whereas others conformed on every 'critical' trial, showing that decisions are also made depending on the individuals personality whether dependant or independent. It is found, however, that Asch's studys have been severly citisesed despite findings showing that individuals do conform to others judgements even when the answer may be wrong. ...read more.

Conclusion

The minority implies that the only solution to restore social stability and cognitive coherence is for the majority to shift towards the minority Moreover, Moscovici's studies appear to show that the shift in opinion brought about by minority influence is more enduring than that brought about by majority influence: "A minority .... can ... influence subjects to revise the very basis of their judgements, while a majority can make them almost all accept its point of view, if it is unanimous, without affecting the underlying perceptual-cognitive system. In other words, majority influence works on the surface while minority influence has deep-lying effects." [Studies in Social Influence III, Moscovici and Lage 1978 in European Journal of Social Psychology 8 quoted in Turner ( 1991)] In other words Moscovici is saying that a majority can certainly bring about compliance, i.e. people go along with what the majority want, but they don't necessarily believe in it. A minority on the other hand can bring about internalization, i.e. the individuals affected actually 'believe in' the minority's values. REFERENCE: Michael A.Hogg & Graham M.Vaugban (1995). Social psychology, An introduction. John W.McDavid & Herbert Harari (1968). Psychology & social behaviour. Studies in Social Influence III, Moscovici and Lage 1978 in European Journal of Social Psychology 8 quoted in Turner ( 1991) http://www.socialpychologyarena.com/journals.sample.as 1 Priya Khandpur ...read more.

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