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Social Influence – Minority Influence

5. Differentiating Minority and Majority Influence

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In this lecture, we think about how minority and majority influence can, or cannot, be differentiated, focusing in particular on: (i) the observation that individuals exposed to majority influence engage in convergent thinking, whereas those influence by a minority engage in divergent thinking; (ii) the role of divergent thinking in moving away from the status quo; (iii) the phenomenon of an innovation no longer being an innovation when it becomes the norm, including a real-world example of smartphones; (iv) the differentiation between convergence, which minorities seek when attempting to influence the majority, and conformity, which majorities seek when attempting to influence the population; (v) the eventuality of a conformity attempt from what started as a convergence attempt, when a minority becomes a majority, without any change in the process itself; (vi) the paradox that a minority exercising consistency, in order to have the greatest influence on the majority, needs conformity within its own ranks.


In this course, Professor Gordon Sammut (London School of Economics) explores minority influence. In the first lecture, we think about contrasting the influence of a minority to that of a lone individual. In the second lecture, we think about the concept of a minority presenting a legitimate alternative to the current way of thinking/acting. In the third lecture, we think about some minority influence processes, including three strategies of consistency, commitment, and flexibility. Next, we think about some key experimental evidence for minority influence. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about some ways in which majority and minority influence may or may not be differentiated.


Professor Gordon Sammut is a visiting fellow in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Sammut’s research interests are in intercultural and intergroup relations, the theory of social representations and modalities of social influence. Some of Professor Sammut’s recent publications include 'The Psychology of social Influence: Modes and Modalities of Shifting Common Sense' (2021) and '‘Social Re-presentation for…’: An Action-Oriented Formula for Intergroup Relations Research' (2020).

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APA style

Sammut, G. (2022, June 01). Social Influence – Minority Influence - Differentiating Minority and Majority Influence [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Sammut, G. "Social Influence – Minority Influence – Differentiating Minority and Majority Influence." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Jun 2022,

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