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Minority Influence



The present paper reviews social psychological research on minority influence. Minorities by proposing alternative and original ideas are often an agent of innovation and social change for societies. They create social conflict by proposing alternative propositions to the established societal perceptions. Minorities are, usually, numerically small groups that question social norms. Minorities influence people’s thinking, attitudes, and behavior by being consistent and flexible in their negotiation with majority members. Their influence is more often latent (i.e., evident on delayed, indirect, and private measures) than manifest. They affect the amount, and the quality, of cognitive processing of their messages (triggered by the different elaboration demands of the influence situation). Minority influence interacts with various situational factors such as social identity (in-group or out-group) and the task employed (e.g., objective or opinion) leading to different kinds of influence outcomes.