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Abstract

An experiment investigated the effects of source status (high versus low) and source's attitude towards the target (Inclusive versus éxclusive) on minority influence. It was predicted that an inclusive minority in the high-status source condition would primarily have a direct impact (compliance), while in the low-status source condition it would have little direct or indirect influence but would stimulate autonomous cognitive work (divergence) Moreover, exclusive minorities, irrespective of status, would have a mainly indirect impact (conversion) Results appear to confirm the hypotheses with two significant qualifications: First, minority status interacts with subjects' initial attitude, furthering or hindering indirect influence; second, an exclusive minority encourages the production of externally-generated thoughts, albeit only in low-status source condition.

The study also provided some information on the relationship between indirect influence and divergence, and between the quantity and the quality of cognitive production.