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Abstract

The study of minority influence has advanced considerably since the late 1960s when Moscovici's pioneering efforts brought the minority's role in the process of persuasion and social influence to the forefront. Moscovici's (1980) insight that the underlying processes of majority and minority influence are quite different has been supported, but the steady pace of research has uncovered various unanticipated findings not easily explained by his conversion theory. In this review, we track recent developments and debates in the field, and consider some major explanatory models of minority influence and their differential postulates regarding cognitive processing and attitude change. We pay particular attention to Crano's (2001) leniency contract model, which details the specific conditions under which majorities and minorities impart influence. Finally, we advance some novel postulates regarding the persuasive impact of out-group minorities.