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Moscovici Study

Psychology presentation for the Moscovici Study.

Manasi Parikh

on 27 November 2012

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Transcript of Moscovici Study

Moscovici (1976) Majority versus Minority Influence in a group Conformity is the tendency to adjust one’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior in ways that are in agreement with those of a particular individual or group, or with accepted standards about how a person should behave in specific situations (social norms). Moscovici and Lage (1976) Conformity In a study carried out by Moscovici and Lage (1976), involving four participants and two confederates (6 total), the minority of two confederates described a slide with ‘blue-green’ color as ‘green’.
They found that the minority was able to influence about 32 per cent of the participants to make at least one incorrect judgment about the color of slides they were shown.
In addition, the participants continued to give their incorrect responses even after the two confederates had left the experiment. Strengths •Laboratory setting increased controls, accuracy and replicability. Numerous trials increased reliability.
•Data and Method Triangulation increased validity.
•Experiment shows a cause and effect relationship.
•Control group used to compare results. Learning Outcomes Discuss factors influencing conformity (for example, culture, groupthink, risky shift, minority influence). Why minorities are influential? Moscovici’s (1980) dual-process model.
Majorities evoke only public conformity via normative influence.
E.g., Conformity in Asch paradigm reduced if private responding.
Cf. Moscovici & Lage (1976).
Minorities evoke conversion via informational influence.
Minority influence if consistent, committed, competent, compelling.

Social impact theory (Latané & Wolf, 1981)
All social influence is a function of the strength, immediacy, and number of influences.
Effective minorities tend to be ‘strong’ sources of influence (e.g., credible).
Note that this model allows for conformity and conversion from either minorities or majorities. Applications The Wave
Jonestown Minority Influence A different way of looking at the Asch paradigm

Can a minority opinion sway the majority to change its views?

Moscovici argues that when a minority maintains a consistent view, it is able to influence the majority. Weaknesses •Low ecological validity due to laboratory setting.
•Demand Characteristics, as the slide test was artificial.
•Lacks internal validity as change of opinion may not have been genuine.
•Low external validity results cannot be generalized.
•Low cross-cultural validity.
•Use of female participants only, results cannot be generalized. Ethics •Participants were deceived.
•No informed consent.
•No debriefing.
•Psychological harm, as participants were put under pressure. Supporting Study: Hogg and Vaughan (1995) argue that some of the reasons for the influence of a minority group could be as follows:
•Dissenting opinions produce uncertainty and doubt
•Such opinions show that alternatives exist
•Consistency shows that there is a commitment to the alternative view

Meta-analysis Wendy Wood et al. (1994) Contrasting Studies: Latané and Wolf (1981)
Clark and Maass (1990)
Asch paradigm The End
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