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Study Notes

Minority Influence - Flexibility

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Moscovici demonstrates that consistency is an important factor for minority influence, however research also suggests that minorities require a degree of flexibility to remain persuasive and that rigid and dogmatic minorities are less effective.

Nemeth (1986) investigated the idea of flexibility in which participants, in groups of four, had to agree on the amount of compensation they would give to a victim of a ski-lift accident.

One of the participants in each group was a confederate and there were two conditions: 1) when the minority argued for a low rate of compensation and refused to change his position (inflexible); 2) when the minority argued for a low rate of compensation but compromised by offering a slightly higher rate of compensation (flexible). Nemeth found that in the inflexible condition, the minority had little or no effect on the majority, however in the flexible condition, the majority was much more likely to compromise and change their view.

Nemeth’s research highlights the importance of flexibility but questions the idea of consistency. On the one hand, Moscovici shows that minorities need to be consistent, whereas Nemeth shows that minorities need to be flexible.

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