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Abstract

According to literature on social influence, a minority source may indirectly influence group members by fostering ambivalent reactions. Two studies were carried out in order to provide empirical support for this theoretical assumption. In Study 1 participants (n = 133), were exposed to a counter-attitudinal minority message and ambivalence was manipulated by facilitating the accessibility of either ambivalent (positive and negative) or univalent (positive or negative) thoughts toward the source. We predicted and found more indirect influence in ambivalent condition than in univalent conditions. No effect of ambivalence on direct influence was found. In Study 2 (n = 127), ambivalence was measured and two possible antecedents of ambivalence, consistency of the minority and personal relevance of the topic for participants, were taken into account. Findings suggest that ambivalence mediates the effects of the two factors on indirect influence. In sum, these studies provide evidence of the importance of ambivalence in minority influence context, an early assumption that was still lacking in strong empirical support. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.