When a compliance without pressure strategy fails due to a minority dissenter: A case of “behavioral conversion”



While a strategy of compliance without pressure (Joule, 1987) had the effect of inducing almost all of a group of smoking subjects to stop smoking first for 18 hours then for 3 days, simply observing someone (an accomplice) break his or her own initial agreement to abstain from smoking for 18 hours was enough to bring about a substantial reduction in the willingness of other subjects to later abstain for 3 days. However, subjects did not follow the lead of the accomplice immediately, and persisted in their agreement to abstain for 18 hours. This pattern of indirect, but not direct influence, suggests that there may be a type of minority influence at work here that represents a sort of behavioral conversion.