Studies in social influence IV: Minority influence in a context of original judgments

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Abstract

This research was devoted to the studv of minoritv influence in a context of originality of judgments. It was stimulated by a consideration of the role pla-ved by the normative context in influence processes. In most research, this implicitlv underlies the phenomena studied. Thus, studies of social control have naturally appealed to the objectivity context. Innovation, in the social milieu in which it is involved, frequentlv implies an originality context. We hoped to study experimentally its effects on the process of social change.

To this end, five experimental conditions were created, in which the originality norm was introduced in different ways – by experimental instructions, by influencing the perception of his own creativity by each individual and by using the time factor to encourage the fuller acceptance of this norm. In each condition, a consistent minority defended a deviant response in a colour perception task (the experimental paradigm used in our previous research using an objectivity context).

The originality context affected the development of minority influence. Judgment based on perceptual evidence was abandoned to a significant degree, and new influence behaviours appeared. Individuals followed the minority or avoided the conflict by apparently original compromise responses. They were able to adopt several modes of response in the destructured way during the experiment, as they could oppose the minority by adopting a counter-norm. Although these reactions depended on the way in which the originality norm was introduced, theprimary role in this process was nevertheless played by the minority, which provided the pole of attraction and persuasion in the group.

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