Social influence and the verifiability of the issue under discussion: Attitudinal versus objective items

Anne Maass, Chiara Volpato, Angelica Mucchi-Faina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two experiments are reported comparing majority and minority influence on attitudinal (opinion) vs. objective (knowledge) tasks. The hypothesis that minority influence would decline on objective items was tested by exposing subjects either to a minority or majority influence source; the question under discussion was either objective ('from which country does Italy import most of its raw oil?') or attitudinal ('from which country should Italy import most of its raw oil?'). Experiment 1 showed that, compared to a no-influence control group, majorities exerted a reliable influence on both objective and attitudinal issues whereas minorities were persuasive only on attitudinal issues. Experiment 2 indicated that this was true only for subjects who were uncertain of their own position, while minorities were unable to convince highly certain subjects regardless of type of task. Implications of these findings for the comparison of conformity and minority influence research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Volume35
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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