When rigidity does not fail: Individualization and psychologization as resistances to the diffusion of minority innovations


  • This study was carried out within the scope of contract 1.681.0.78 with the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, Switzerland.


Studied the impact of individualization and psychologization of minorities upon their influence. In Experiment I, 72 Swiss male and female 15-year-old students read a text on pollution prepared in a 2 × 2 ANOVA-design (one/ two sources, rigid/flexible style) and reported their impression of the content. As below, attitude was measured before and after reading. In Experiment II, 24 second-year Swiss psychology students judged the presumed author of an anti-militaristic tract by adjectives with either merely political or political and psychological connotations. Results indicate that the strong difference between flexible and rigid style appears with one source only, but that independent of the number of sources, a rigid style obtains a less positive image. Change of attitude in moderate subjects judging with political adjectives only vanished in those using psychological adjectives in addition. As a rigid minority only tacks influence when individualized and as psychologization constitutes an ideological functioning of resistance to social change, psychological research, by its current strategies, might be participating in such resistance.