Majority versus minority influence and prediction of behavioral intentions and behavior

Robin Martin*, Pearl Y. Martin, Joanne R. Smith, Miles Hewstone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Two experiments examined the effects of majority and minority influence on attitude-consistent behavioral intentions. In the first experiment, when attitudes were changed via minority influence there was a greater likelihood to engage in an attitude-consistent behavioral intention than when attitudes were changed via majority influence. This suggests that minority influence leads to stronger attitudes (based on systematic processing) that are more predictive of behavioral intentions, while attitude change via majority influence is due to compliance through non-systematic processing. Further support for this interpretation comes from the finding that the amount of message-congruent elaboration mediated behavioral intention. When there was no attitude change, there was no impact on behavioral intention to engage in an attitude-consistent behavior. Experiment 2 explored the role of personal relevance of the topic and also included a real behavioral measure. When the topic was of low personal relevance, the same pattern was found as Experiment 1. When the topic was of high personal relevance, thus increasing the motivation to engage in systematic processing, attitudes changed by both a majority and minority source increased behavioral intention and actual behavior. The results are consistent with the view that both majorities and minorities can lead to different processes and consequences under different situations. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-771
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

Keywords

  • majority influence
  • minority influence
  • attitude-consistent behavioral intentions

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