Majority Or Minority Influence Essay

675 words - 3 pages

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 & 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 ...view middle of the document...

According to Festinger, (1950, 1954 in Hogg & Vaughan 2007) this type of influence is associated with uncertainty. Here individuals are uncertain and lack knowledge as to how to behave in certain situations. Festinger referred to this as social comparison in which individuals are not fully confident about their beliefs, attitudes and opinions and therefore yield to majority in order to be correct. This occurs particularly under ambiguous conditions and is clearly demonstrated in Asch’s (1956 in Hogg and Vaughan 2007) and Sherif’s (1936 in Hogg and Vaughan 2007) studies in which participants converged on similar answers particularly when the tasks became extremely difficult for them to be able to rely on their own judgments (in Bailey et al., 2008).

Moreover, one study into majority influence was that of Asch’s (1956 in Bailey, J.et al. 2008). Asch devised a non ambiguous task and presented participants with a series of lines and the possible answers. All participants were confederates apart from one participant. Confederates were instructed to produce incorrect answers in the 12 critical...

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