• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and Evaluate Psychological Research into Minority Social Influence

Extracts from this document...


Outline and Evaluate Psychological Research into Minority Social Influence Minority social influence is where a smaller group of people is trying to persuade a larger group of people into changing their attitudes, behaviours or beliefs. Through research it has possible to identify the qualities required of the minority in order to exert their influence over the majority. Moscovici (1985) claimed that the minority must be consistent and never appear dogmatic; Hogg and Vaughan (1998) added to this that the minority must also appear to be principled, alike to the majority in someway (e.g. gender or social class), have views consistent with current social trends, and be seen to have made sacrifices to maintain their influential position, if they are to succeed in their persuasion. There have been various studies which have allowed these generalized conclusions of the effectiveness of minorities to be made. Each of these studies has both its strengths and weaknesses. One of the first major studies into minority influence was carried out by Moscovici et al (1969). The aim of the experiment was to see whether a consistent minority of participants would influence a larger group of people to give an incorrect answer in a colour perception task. ...read more.


It has been found that women are more greatly affected by normative social influence than men are, meaning that women are more likely to conform. Therefore it can be expected that males and females will react differently to minority social influence. These findings relate to the female reaction in the situation can therefore only be generalized to this female population. Similar differences may not only be found across genders but perhaps across cultures, social classes and age groups. Each different group may be more or less inclined to conform; therefore these results are not applicable to the world in general. In order to make this generalization, first several different studies would have to be carried out across different sample groups in order to determine whether or not there were significant differences present between the conformity levels. Other studies have been carried out using a similar procedure and act to further the findings of Moscovici's original research and correct some of the conclusions initially put forward. Moscovici and Nemeth (1974) were interested in the effects of seating position of the minority participants. In the study there were five participants (one confederate, four in the majority). ...read more.


This shows that generalisations cannot be made from the 1969 study as the conformity only occurs up to a certain number of people. Therefore the effects of minority influence may only be said to work when the minority to majority ratio is at a maximum of 2:4. These findings are not particularly useful as they cannot demonstrate applications in everyday life; such as when a jury majority of 11 is influenced by a minority of 1. This may be due to the method used in Moscovici's study; perhaps a more realistic experiment method would show different results that could fully explain how human behaviour works in everyday life. Moscovici's (1969) study into minority social influence has acted as an important base for research. As a laboratory experiment it has limited ecological validity and mundane realism; however it has the positive attribute of fewer possible confounding variables. The study has been both supported and opposed by later research, however it appears that the idea of consistency suggested by Moscovici is not wrong but was not developed enough to fully explain minority social influence. The experiment allowed for further developments of explanational theories; providing a suitable method to be used in studies, and initial ideas that were important for improvements on our psychological understanding of minority social influence. ?? ?? ?? ?? 28/11/2008 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Social influence, its concepts and ethics

    as here when a participant wanted to stop the experiment, the experimenter probed the subject to continue, pressure was added to continue the study so as not to affect the data. Protection of Participants - now this is from both physical and psychological harm which was not the case in either component.

  2. The experiment conducted tested the theory of conformity under the influence of group pressure.

    The confederates, who were already seated, were introduced to the participant as other participants. The seating arrangements were chairs arranged in a semicircle around a table and the participant was seated in the only available free seat. The standardised instructions were then read aloud by the experimenter and any questions asked regarding the experiment were answered to the participant's satisfaction.

  1. Should Research into social influence be banned?

    Apparatus: Two rooms in Yale University were used, one for the learner- containing an electric chair, and an answering device. The other was for the teacher and the experimenter with an electric shock generator. The generator didn't actually give electric shocks, however it was convincing because it had a row

  2. investigating levels of majority influence

    true purpose of the experiment and that they needed to be confederates for the study. The confederate's role was to give an opposite view to the expected response to each of the images shown to see if this would have any effect on the non-confederates.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work