Minority Influence

  • Serge Moscovici
  • Gabriel Mugny
Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


Research on minority influence, that is, the impact of an individual on the group or of a group on a collectivity, is of recent origin. Why did it take so long to recognize this influence? There are several reasons. One is the conception and model on which studies about group phenomena generally, and social influence in particular, were based. From the early days of social psychology until quite recently, interest was focused on conformity, on the way a group affects individuals and brings about social uniformities (Festinger, 1950). Another reason is the perspective from which relations between individuals and groups were mainly envisaged, that is, dependency. Hence the well-known formulation: The fundamental influence mechanism, in its various guises, is social dependency (power, competence, etc.). A final reason is the emphasis on the social control process, which is presumed to facilitate cohesion and to enable a group of individuals to reach its goals. The only function attributed to social influence is therefore the group’s social control over its members. Within this context deviants are presented as obstacles to group progress. They are viewed as “weak” individuals trying to reinsert themselves into the social system. These points are too familiar to delve into them at length. We only wish to point out that they underlie the classical view of groups and group dynamics (see Levine, 1980). Their joint effect has been to instill a conformity bias in social thought and research, as will become more evident when we examine each of these aspects in turn and look at them more closely.


Social Influence Social Conflict Social Field Stimulus Person Minority Individual 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Moscovici
  • Gabriel Mugny

There are no affiliations available

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