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Abstract

The importance of synchronic consistency as a factor facilitating minority influence had not previously been the object of a systematic study. We carried out a 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 experiment aimed at studying the consequences of a) ideological similarity or dissimilarity of two minority sources belonging to b) a single minority or two different ones, on subjects c) ideologically both close and distant from positions defended by the influence sources, d) according to the absence or presence of psychologization. In the main, our hypotheses were confirmed. As expected concerning the ‘close’ subjects, in the absence of psychologization, the similarity and dissimilarity between minority sources take over, respectively, the signification of consistency and inconsistency and, consequently, increase or decrease the influence exerted by the minority sources. Psychologization decreases the benefits of synchronic consistency. Contrariwise, the ‘distant’ subjects did not seem to follow the same ‘logic’: the condition of opinion dissimilarity in the same minority is the most influential; its influence, however, diminishes when the divergence of opinion is explained by means of a psychological dissimilarity. Data related to the image of the sources indicate that the influence process is no longer determined by perceived consistency or inconsistency, but by the objectivity attributed to minorities. Under these circumstances, intra-minority pluralism became the guaranteer of objectivity.