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Abstract

The effects of shifting opinions within a group upon majority opinion, communication between members and perceived attractiveness of other members were studied. Each subject perceived himself to be a member of the majority in a group whose opinion was divided 6–2 on an important issue. But later one to three group members changed their vote. Six conditions of change were established: Control, majority reactionary, majority compromise, majority defection (5-3), minority compromise, minority compromise plus majority reactionary. Only majority compromise or defection affected majority opinion (private and public). Majority members were disliked when they deviated from majority opinion, but particularly so when they shifted toward minority opinion. Minority members were liked most when they induced a majority member to compromise (but not defect). Majority communication to minority occurred most when the minority was compromising, but most disagreement with minority opinion was expressed when a majority member had either compromised or defected.