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Influence of a Consistent Minority on the Responses of a Majority in a Color Perception Task

Author(s): S. Moscovici, E. Lage, M. Naffrechoux
Source: Sociometry, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Dec., 1969), pp. 365-380
Published by: American Sociological Association
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Sociometry. is alwaysassumedthathe asks himselfthequestion"ShouldI followthegroupor theminority?" or in other wordshe is faced with the alternativeof conformity or deviance. Whenthe minority'sbehavioris not consistent.Thereforeit is the consistentbehavioralstyle of minorities thatinsuresthe adoptionof theirpointof view. and moreoverthat is the sole phenomenon conformity achievedby means of influence.On the otherhand. In orderto study thisform.Influenceof a ConsistentMinorityon the Responses of a Majority in a Color PerceptionTask S. I also wish to acknowledgethe assistance extendedto me by the James Marshall Fund.theanalysisof theactionof a minority and empirically theoretically upon the majority. THE CONFORMITY BIAS assimilatesthe processof influenceto the Specialisedliteraturecommonly processof conformity (Allen. its impact on the majorityis minimal.1969) we can considerthe innovationas a formof social influence. 1965).and have used dependencyas the source of influence.* E.the numberof "green" repliesin the experimental groupsis significantly higherthan in the controlgroup.the qualitieswhichit mustpossessin orderto make its *Fellow (1968-1969) at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.This changein answeris not onlya verbalagreementbut corresponds to a changein theirperceptioncode. On the one hand. Paris social Most of the studieson social influencehave dealt with conformity.Without goinginto the detailsstatedelsewhere(Moscoviciand Faucheux.whenexaminingtheindividual. as shownby a color discrimination test. NAFFRECHOUX Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.On the an individualfrequently contrary. 365 . and triesat the same time to prove that behavioral is a style generalsource of pressureexercized by a minority. pressureexercisedby majoritygroups. poses the questionin exactlythe inverse manner:"WhatshouldI do so thatthemajoritywilladoptmypointof view? of such posHow can I changethe conceptionof others?"The multiplicity sible questionstendsto contradictthe aforementionedassimilation. LAGE AND M.This study concernsinnovation. the tendencyis to assume that any type of influenceleads to conformity.An objectivelyblue stimulusis used whichtwo subjects (stooges) out of six call "green" in the experimental groups.When the behaviorof the minorityis consistent.

social nical invention. Nonetheless. we were promptedto seek whichis not subjectto the limitations whichwe anothersourceof influence and whichcomescloserto expressingtheactiveresolute have just mentioned. Why are we expectingsuch an effect?The presenceof a normcan be dis- .In addition.Good reasonsexistto supposethatin the process of innovation. the majoritynormto be when is also this action that possible like to prove changedis explicitor quasi-physical. or television. wouldnot be a resultof an explicitdependency.A minoritywhichtrulyinnovates.nor a differential is neithera decisiveindependent account for influencewhich is exerted. BEHAVIOR STYLE AS A SOURCE OF INFLUENCE In almostall of the researchdone to date on social influenceonly one of deand experimentally: its possiblesourceshas been studiedtheoretically pendency.or any kind of specifictechelectronicequipment. not judged as being superiorto othersinsofaras competenceis concerned.constitutesa sort of prolegomenon.only rarelyhas powerat the outset. whichunderthe appearsas if it oughtto be a powerfulsourceof influence.the way in which the behavioris organizedand to provokethe acceptanceor the rejectionof a judgpresentedcould suffice Moreover mentor a proposedmodelduringthe courseof social a consequenceratherthan a The necessityto heed the cause of an actionaimedat exertingan influence.or knowledge. We believethatwe have foundit in the behavioral characterof a minority. circumstances made by one of the authorsin collaborationwith A seriesof experiments and Moscovici.we cannotmake use of it in the study of innovation.forcertainreasons. In short. equiprobablestimulior the modification of thepreviousone.Firstof all. style of the individualor those individualswho propose a solutionto a problem.values. it seemsclear that dependencyin relationto an individualor a subgroupwhichinnovates.computers. we should a is which continuation In thepresentstudy.dependencyin relationto the phenomenonwhich interestsus factorwhichcan variable.the fact that it resolutely maintainsa well definedpointof viewand developsit in a coherentmanner. the consistencyof the behaviorof a minority. 1967) has alreadyshownthe impactof a con(Faucheux sistentminorityupon a majoritywhen preferencejudgmentsconcerning of an implicitnormare involved. computeror televisionexpertsfollowsthe adoptionof advice of electronics. proposesto show more clearlyone of these qualities and to depart from the customaryemphasison attitudeswhichare linkedto conformity.Thus.whichtransforms is to be noted are thattheindividualsor subgroupswho changerules.366 SOCIOMETRY This research point of view accepted.a new normfora group.

In the eventthatnothingin the situationpermitssuch an attribution and a dyad.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 367 in the spontaneousunanimityof thosewho share it. the fact that a physical stimulusis involveddoes not necessarily workagainst the exertionof influenceby a minority. let us supposethat a subgroupdivergesfromthis customarymode of responseand that he providesan alternativemode of responseto the in same object.The diversitywhichreplacesuniformity and of conflict. as beingequivalentto thoseof the majority(Worell 1967). and each one imaginesthat he is reactingas he is supposedto react. Sperlingdemonstrated that the influenceexertedon an individualis muchgreaterwhenhe believesin the existenceof an objective response.e.on the contraryit may facilitateit. not as being producedby the propertiesof the to explain the difference stimulus. The validityof judgmentsand opinions (Kelley. i.than when he does not believe in it.but as being producedby those who perceiveit: an anomalyof vision.No matterwho. We mustalso add that theseconflictrelationsassume a particularcharacterin thecase wherethe stimulusis physical.thenthe latterare even more obligatedeitherto adopt the responseof the minorityor to reject it. to polarize.arbitrary:it is common.a minoritywill not only engender a conflict. This is possible when minorityis an isolated individual(Moscovici 1969).a lesser judgmentcapacity. to ignorethe judgmentof the minority:that is to transform the conflict This means that it mustbe able of responseinto a conflictof attribution. because it poses its own judgments but will intensify and opinionsas havingthe same value.this insistenceproves that takingone's stand is not casual and that the subgrouphas no intentionof concedingor submittingto the group. constituting frommembersof the majorityby such traits.doubt is cast upon the groupis a creatorof uncertainty of responsesof each personor of the groupand the variability thehierarchy is increased. The majorityhas one singlemeans to reducethe tension. Now.By insistingon his answer. Moreover. In an experiment cited by Asch (1962). . and in the tinguished expectancythat a high probabilityresponsewill occur in the face of a stimulusor a determinate object.No othermeans is left to themto restorethe invariability of responsein theirrelationwiththe externalworld. This exertsa tremendouspressuretowardsacceptanceof the new and surprising response. cannotbe distinguished that membersof the minority. Thus. facedwithsuch a is expectedto react in the same way. the conflict.the same stimulus.The reality to be judged in thesecircumstances is not principleuniversal. 1967) and the stabilityof relationswiththe environment are guaranteedowingto thisnormonlyif thesetwo criteriaare expected.

Beforepassinga judgment. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE AND RESULTS that the judgmentof the can be expectedto be directlycounterto the normalexpectations minority in society. (Thus it was necessaryforthe minority than one orderto demonstrate With thesepresuppositions of a minorityupon a majoritywithina group. These variationsin lightintensitywere studiedin orderto make the task was controlled. forexample. The subjectswereliberalarts.permittingdifferences forexample.threeslides were moreluminousthan threeothers.At the same time they were informed that theywouldbe asked to judge the colorand variationin lightintensity of a seriesof slides (a briefexplanationof the meaningof lightintensity was furnished).Once the subjects were seated in a row before the screen on whichwere to be projectedthe slides. are exclusive. an eliminatethose subjectswho .law and social science materialfemalesubjectswere students. (b) Objectivityis an implicitexigencyof judgments. The stimuliused consistedof slides with two different the passage of a beam filtersmountedin them: (1) photofilterspermitting of light of the dominantwave length (X=483. morerealisticand less boring. (e) The judgmentof the majorityin the laboratoryis identicalwiththat of any randomsampleoutsidethe laboratory." This test had a twofoldobjective: first. personaleccentricities.368 SOCIOMETRY the influence in mind. if one wereto say that two unequal amountsof dots weresaid to be equal. sense. (2) neutralfilterswhichreducedlightintensityin certainproportion.constituting (c) The responsesof themajorityand minority withouteitherone just negatingthe other. In a set of six slides.Theireffectin thisexperiment Each experimental group consistedof fournaive subjectsand two confederates.5) in the blue scale. theywere told that this would be an experimenton color perception.the whole groupwas asked to in orderto checktheparticipants'"chromatic takea Polack we have conceivedan experimentin which: and of the minority (a) Responseconflictis increasedby the consistency by the consensusamongits members. in judgmentcannot be accountedfor by individual (d) The difference to be composedof more qualities.Giventhenatureof the experimental in evaluatingthe colorof an because of theirgreaterinvolvement preferred types of object.) Otherwisethe conflictin responsecould be transformed to be explained by into a conflictof attribution.

we modified the mode of presentationof emphasizethe fact that everyonein the group had normalvision.and occupiedthe firstand fourthplaces.second. The real purposeof thesepreliminary trialswas to enable the subjects to get acquaintedwiththe color of the stimulusand to immunizethemin McGuire's (1964) sense of word against the futureonslaughtof the instructedminority whichdoes not share the norm. The variationin the seatingof the second confederate was aimed at modifying of his behavior. the real were explainedbeforeleaving the room.while in the 20 other groupstheywere separated. to a personal responsewill not be attributedto a difference factorexternalto the experimentalsituation.In each trialthe two confederates exertedinfluenceby calling the color "green.each one lasting15 seconds.the confederateswere both internally consistentfromone trial to the next with each that the confederates' in vision. the series of six different slides was presentedsix times. objectivesof the experiment Two variationswere introducedregardingthe seating of the two confederatesand the presentation of the stimuli.In 13 groupswhich included those were seated in position1 and 4.During thesepreliminary trials the confederatesansweredat random.the subjectswere instructedwhat responsesmightbe given and how the experimentwould be conducted.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 369 perchancemighthave visual abnormalities. (2) The stimulusvariation:in orderto test the impactof the commitment to the firstresponseand to permita possible change. the order of the slides varyingsystematically fromone seriesto the next. variation:in 12 groupsthe confederates (1) Confederate wereseated side by side and gave the firstand second responses. Afterthe collectivecorrectionof the resultto the test.that is to say." In this manner. Following these trials.and afterhaving ascertainedthat everyonesees normally. Thus these were 36 trials. . to wit replyingaloud and naminga simple color as well as estimating the lightintensityin numericalterms(rangingfrom0 forthe dimmestto 5 for the brightest).i. At the end of the experiment the subject filledout a questionnaireconcerningthe stimuliand the othermembersof the group.As usual.separatedby approximately 5 seconds of darkness..Subjects were also told that the preliminarytrial would be just forpracticein whicheach subject would only make a light intensityjudgment. to make him appear the interpretation more independentof the firstconfederate. the continuity in whichthe confederates of the sequence of the stimuliwas interrupted by introducingtwo oneminutepauses aftera sequenceof 12 slides.since they gave all the timethe same response.

it was placed in the centerof the table so that it would be visible to everyone. expecteda shiftin the blue-greendesignationthresholdwhichwould reveal a reactionthatwas repressedduringthe social interaction.Certainsubjects did refuseto adoptopenlytheminority response. Three disks fromeach end of the "blue" and "green"scale wereabsolutely unambiguous.even if it did not resultin a change in verbal response did have a lasting effecton theirperception.370 SOCIOMETRY The orderof responseof the subjectsremainedthe same fromone trial to the next forthe durationof the experiment.Here one mightexpecta latentattractionmanifesting extensionof the designation"green" to stimuliin a zone whicha control groupwould call blue. The firststageof thisexperiment exertsits influenceon the majority. The oppositereaction(extensionof the notionblue to stimuliin the greenzone) would be the resultof polarization. In this one. only we diversified case theyanswered24 times"green" and 12 times"blue. influencewhich. the experimenterannouncedthe beginningof the test.He left the roomand the second enteredimmediately and repeatedhis request.Afterthe discrimination test the firstexperimenter returned.feelingcompelledto remain loyal to the generalnorm.isolated the subjectsby means of cardboardscreensand instructsthemto writedown the responsesindividuallyon a sheet of paper. The materialconsistedof 16 disks in the blue-greenzone of Farnsworth100-hueset perceptiontest. Each disk was presentedon a neutralbackgroundfora periodlastingapproximately 5 seconds.even when they themselvesbegan to doubt its itselfby an validity. is identicalto the precedingexperiment." the dispersion . The order of presentationwas randomized. We wonderedwhetherthe subjectsexperiencedan SECONDEXPERIMENT.The latterhavexperimenter ing obtainedthe agreementof the subjectsseated themarounda table and relatedto the effectof the exercise said to themthat it was an experiment about the visionphenomena. In this experiment the consistencydegreeof the confederates.independent one in whichtheyhad just participated. whichwas identicalto the first THaRD EXPERIMENT. The seriesof 16 disks was presented10 timesin the continuousmethod.would like of the to solicittheirparticipationin anotherresearchproject.He then describedthe material. Ten groups participatedin this experiment.We duringthe experiment.the subjectsfilledin the postexperimental and the experiment endedin the same manneras the previous questionnaire one.At the thatis to say that the minority thanked subjects telling them that end of this phase the experimenter anotherresearcherwho was also interestedin visionphenomena.Afterhaving made sure that the subjects understoodthe instructions well. but theother10 stimulimightappearambiguous.

took.In the latter. Other data show this influenceas well.Amongthe 22 perceptiontestsnor on the postexperimental two can be seen that 57 per cent of the subjectsor two subjectsper groupon the average gave the same responseas the confederates. For thisgroup The controlgroupwas thesame forthe threeexperiments. -of the stimulidid not have any differentiation Moreover.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 371 of "blue" answersbeing randomized.and the typeof introduction-continuous.18.only one gave subjects. Thus we have two categoriesof groups.The confederates' theresultof a modification or discontinuous seatingposition. Mannthey concernU This with the Bezold-Briicke phenomenon Whitney test). . There is no significant difference betweenthe two series of groupson the questionnaire.of course. RESULTS "Green" responses(responseswhichexpressthe influenceof minority in the experimental groups) constituted8. irrespective ing perception was of significantly higherin the luminositythe proportion greenresponse in the control than experimental groups groups. p<.70 per cent greenresponseswere obtainedin these groups.representsubjectsof the controlgroup. The difference betweencontroland experimentalsubjects on the basis of Mann Whitney'sU test (Z=2.or fourgroupsof 6 subjects. effect.75 per cent of the groups.10) turnsout to be significant(p=.with the response eliminationof two subjectswho failed to give the discrimination accordingto the instructions.37.The percentageof individualswho yielded was 32 per cent.25 per centof the responsesof the uninfluenced that the latterperceivedthe stimulusas reallyblue and that this normis firmlyestablishedsocially. THE PERCEPTUAL of judgmentwithinthe group.42 per cent of the answersof the 128 naive subjects in the two firstexperiments.003.the subjectswere more similarto the confederates were weak than when were tensities strong(Z=3. Subjects changed theirresponse (giving 4 or more green responses) in 43.we have noticed that even thoughno color contrasteffect when light inexisted.those in whichno subjectswere influencedand those in which subjects were influenced. with of color of the Yet.The controlsubjectsalso phase. the quantityof green responseswhich we obtained was not so much the resultof isolated individualswho followedthe confederate. Thus. agrees different luminosities. the presentation of the stimuluswas continuous.Eleven groups participatedto this experiment.the discrimination test afterthe initialexperimental In all we had 22 controlsubjects. one-tailedtest).That means ing 0.019.

038 . whichwere obtained by a graphicmethodon the smoothedout curve of individualresponses.54 1.42 1. This modification affects majorityin themodification TABLE 1 Shiftin the ThresholdforPerceptionof the Color Green Threshold 50 75 25 ControlGroup SD Mean 47.14 ExperimentalGroup Mean SD 48.78 1. All of the data reflectthe effectof interactionbetweenminorityand of theperceptualcode.We retainedthreevalues: (1) the 50 per cent thresholdindicating the point in the orderedsequence of stimuliwhere the subject gives as many"blue" as "green"judgments.(2) the lowerthresholdvalue indicates the point wherethe subject gives 75 per cent greenand 25 per cent blue judgments. where the subject gives 25 per cent greenand 75 per cent blue judgments.It was theirlowerthresholdvalue.Althoughwe have to inconexploremoresystematically the variationof inter-and intra-subject sistency.A similar wereinconsistent. proposalwas obtainedin groupscompletely inconsistent (50 per centblue50 per cent green responsesof the confederates).38 1.Our calculationsbear on the thresholdvalues.28 t 1.047 .the resultswe have just mentionedare suggestiveof a marked influenceof the behaviorstyleof a minority. The measurementof the thresholdmakes it possible to verify this hypothesis. THE DISCRIMINATION TEST.19 1.41 comparingthe 50 per cent. whereone or severalresponsesof theconfederates we obtainedonly 1. at least changedtheirperceptual code.25 per cent greenresponses. whichindicatesa generalizationof the notion of blue in the greenzone.75 per cent. we subsequentlyeliminatedthe resultsof three subjects in the experimentalgroups who polarized.To study the influence of the consistentminority.and (3) the upper thresholdvalue. Their 50 per cent thresholdwas lower than that of all the controlgroup thresholds.we also wanted to verifythe hypothesisthat the subjects who did not change theirsocial response.03 46. The question here concernswhetherthe subjects who changed their social response under the influenceof the consistentminority also changedtheirperceptivecode.85 49.01 .39 46.21 1.16 48.even in the groupwherethe majoritywas not at all influencedat this level by the minority. and 25 per cent thresholdsof the experimental groups (37 subjects) and the controlgroups(22 subjects) we obtained(Table 1) the expectedshift.33 P (one-tailed level) .68 2. In addition.SOCIOMETRY 372 In thethirdexperiment. Then.

002). THE POSTEXPERIMENTAL QUESTIONNAIRES. and hesitation thegroupcorresponds to inconsistency . One can see that this is indeed the case. p<. Of coursethe experimental techniqueemployedwas not withoutits faults. 1 Thomasand Bistey(1964) reporta studyusingthesamestimulus as our studyand theyfoundthat subjectswho called the stimulus"green"or "mostlygreen"showed significantly greater generalization towardthelongerwavelengththanthosewho calledit "blue"or " such difference emergesin the discrimination test for the three thresholdsunderconsideration. We can concludethat the consistentminorityhas an even greaterinfluenceon the perceptivecode of the subjectsthan on theirverbalresponseto the slides. The difference between the groups where the majoritydid not change and wherethe majoritydid changeis significant (X2= 14.(b) The relativecertaintyof the majorityis probablyweakenedas a resultof the confrontation with the minority. To begin with we can put forwardthat occasionallyseeinggreen slides.1 We had made the assumptionthat in the groupswhere therewas no changein social response.or wherethe "green"responsehad been in some way "repressed"one would observea greaternumberof "green"judgments in the discrimination test. Thus we should have varied the exposuretime.The perceptivechangeis not produced by a pure attractiontowardsthe minority. or seeing green in blue slides is not due to a simple acquiescence to the response of the minority. 2 Usingthesame test. The postexperimental quesThe tionnaires we had devisedshowedus that: (a) divergence of opinionor responseof the consistentminorityconstrainsthe subjects to a cognitive activitybearingupon the stimulus.68 value. but why it did not followit. (a) The CognitiveActivityof The ExperimentalGroup.we shouldbe able to recoverthemfromtheirname.whileit would be significant at . On the must be observedthat shiftis even morepronouncedforgroupswherethe majoritydid not change than it is forthosewhereit changed.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 373 more subjects than the change of verbal responses.This propositionis supportedby other data.Brownand Lenneberg (1958) showedthat thereis a relationand color recognition whichis a functionof stimulusexship betweencolor-naming since we posure-time.and its problemwas to explain not why it followedthe minority."Our resultsare in the oppositedirection. On the one hand.94.But withtheirswhichshowsthatinconsistency within in generalour studyis in agreement in theindividual.and the Student'st of 1.50 is close to the 1.2 But the resultsobtained should be mentionedonly for the new research line it gives us.Nevertheless dealtwithhighlycodablecolors. if within the experimental groupsa distinctionis apparentbetweensubjects who sometimesadopted the minorityresponseand subjects who never adopted the minorityresponses.

Naive subjects.001). Moreover.0342). Thus.99. p<.No matterwhat these shades were or how many were cited. of their own perceptionor their definitionof green and of blue.whoconstituted (b) PerceptionoftheConsistent the majorityin the experimental groupswere more inclinedto see green in the blue slides than the controlsubjects (and actually did see more green). however. Of course.4.78. A differentiation the experimental groups.64. for purposesof this analysis we retainedonly the highestpercentageof green foundon the responsesheet.subjects in the formergroupsdid prove more inclinedto accept the green response than subjectsin the lattergroups (t 2.003). p<. Using an appropriatequestion.Subjectswho yielded made betweensubjectswithinthe experimental to the minoritysay more nuances than those who did not yield to the make an effortto look for green in the blue stimuli. The effectof this was probablythe modification. Everythingtends to point to the fact that members of the majoritymade an effortto take into account the viewpointof the minority. Minority.008). p<.076).374 SOCIOMETRY Having raisedthe question:"To whatextentis it possiblefortheseslides to be perceivedas green"we ascertainedthat subjectsin the experimental groups did not accept this possibilityin a more significantdegree than subjects in the controlgroups. The psychologicalproblemwhichtheyhad to solve was the following: why. was the involved?The only possible explanationfor such a contradiction . p<.92.we thenasked subjectsto specifytheseshadesby naming the colors which composedthem.79.On the other hand.and always respondedblue (Z= 1.005).subjectswho yielded to the minoritysaw more than 30 per cent (Z. since a physicalstimuluswas withoutfoundation.whilesubjectsin the controlgroups can also be saw at mostone or two (Z 2. we can infer withtheminority led to an inclination thatthedesireto reachan agreement to see what the latterwere seeing. All subjects in the experimentalgroups distinguishedmore green than those in the controlgroups (Z=2. as we saw. to verifythe objectivebasis of its judgment.whethertheydid or did not yield to the minoritysubjectsin groupsin whicha changein responseoccurred perceivedmoreshades than thosein groupswherethe majoritymaintained its position. althoughhaving agreed that the minority'sanswer was not did theynot yield to it.nor were theycontentblindlyto accept or reject a norm opposed to theirown.12. p<.(Z=2. p<.At no timedid they remainpassive.using it as an index of the extremelimit of a subject's attemptto find this color.With this in mind we asked the subjects: how many different nuancesof colordid you distinguish?Subjectsin the experimental groupsperceivedmorethantwonuances.

04. Thus the membersof the majorityjudged themselvesmore competentthantheminority. and in the groupswherethey were separated(t 7.07). both in the groupswheretheywere seated next to each other (t=2. interpretation applies to the two series of predictionsconsideredtogether.54. and theyexperiencedlittleanxietyregardingtheir perceptivecapacity. These evaluationswere shared by all .98.A comparisonof the grades whichsubjectsgave to themand othersubjectsforcolor perceptionis veryinstrucselves.Thus while they wereinterestedby what was proposedto them. on a 10-pointscale (fromgood to bad). includingthemselves.07) and thanothermembersof thegroup(t=4. Without it can nonetheless be seen that the first comingto any definiteconclusion. whilethe secondconcernseach seriesseparately.02.Even if he had good vision. p<.theyconsideredthemselves to be more competentthan the minority.confederates tive.07).7) and in the groupswherethey were separated (t 3.42. In the firsttwo questionssubjectswereasked to judge each of the personswho participated in the experiment. p<. subjects did not believe that a person who always perceived these slides as green could have a very good color perception.001).001). p<. it was feltthat the secondconfederate had a better colorperceptionthanthe firstconfederate(Zz=2.04.The confederateseated in the firstpositionwas judged as being more sure of his responsethan the second confederate.02. Mann-Whitney U test). these trendscan be accountedfor in otherways.since they representednormal perception-therefore theyhad the rightto yield or not to yield. according to whethertheyweremoreor less sure of theirresponses.suppliedgreat self-assurance. Now let us examinethe resultsobtainedmorein detail.subjectsconsideredthattheconfederates' colorperception was not as good as theirs. A difference revealeditselfalso in the perceptionof the two confederates. p<. his competencyin the area of colormustbe inferiorto thatof the majorityof people. In spite of the resultsof the Polack Test."Subjectsjudged to be more sure of theirresponsesthan they were (t-5. Needless to say. What about certainty?In theirpostexperimental questionnairesubjects had to classify"the personswho participatedin the experiment.both in the groupswherethe confederates were seated nextto each other(t=9.83. p<0.001). Nevertheless.22.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 375 assertionthat they were less certainthan the minority. confederates p<. P<. p .On thewhole. They also consideredthat confederates did not perceivecolorsas well the othermembersof the group (t 10. as to theircapacity firstto discriminateintensitiesand second to perceivecolors. On the otherhand the consistentnatureof the minorityresponsein the face of the different judgmentsemittedby the majority.

a situationwheretheymust eitherconcedeor polarize in orderto reduce and diminishthe anxiety.Eisinger and Mills (1968) studiedthe effectof the discrepancyof the communicator positionupon his sincerityand competence.the effectof the second would be what economistscall effect.Likewise. The trendsdiscoveredalso enlightenedus about the role of the second In a sense. Thus. Now. than when he took a moderateposition. especiallyof a minority to the normof the at the same time an index of extremism.In any case the minority'sinfluencecannotbe ata demonstration tributedto a possible leadershiprecognizedby the group.he does not contributeany supplementary confederate. or whethertheywerein the groupswherethe majorityresistedall influence.if the effectof the firstconfederateis an influenceeffect.subjectsyielded. this extremism.They provedthat a communiand more catoron the oppositeside will be perceivedas moreincompetent sincerein comparisonwitha communicator who is opposedbut moremoderate.(b) judgmentsof competenceand of certitudeof confederates had an inverserelation. Questionedas to which personsin the group they would like to find themselvesin a morefrequently similarsituationwith.nonsignificant than othernaive subjects.thenin certaingroups.theyofferindirectsupportin favor witha normopposed of the view that consistency.376 SOCIOMETRY subjects. and places the othersin engendersan anxietylinkedto the disagreement.whethertheywereamongthosewho respondedlike the consistent minority.justifiesthem.But what interestsus here is the fact thatobtainingthe same resultsas ours. weight We make the hyto the responseof the "innovator. Brehmand Lipsher (1958) provedthatperceivedtrustworthiness would be greaterwhen the communicator took an extremepositionon eitherside of the issue.More recently. to the extentthat it shows itselfuncompromising. he demonstrates thatsomeoneis capable of choosingthe minority responsethat thereis a choice possible betweenthe two alternativesand to a certain extent.subjectsdid not chooseconfederates than any othermemberof the group. These experiments suggestthat the responseof an individualor an extremesubgrouphas moreweight."the firstconfederate.As nothingpermitsthem to this disagreement polarize. pothesisthat his behaviorservesas an exampleto the othersubjects. (c) the confederatein the second positionwas perceiveddifferently fromthe one in the firstpositionand as being closer to other subjects. Threetrendsclearlyemergefromtheseresults:(a) subjectsjudged themselvesmore competentand less certainthan confederates.when asked: "Who would you like to see lead the discussion(about the experiment)in the group?" trendcan be observedto choose confederatesless a slight. These trendscorroborateobservationsmade in other experiments.In short. .

This majority.What do we see when we examineAsch's results?We see that a unanimousmajorityfromtwo to sixteenconfederates provokedthe acceptenceof "erroneous"responsesfor one third(32 per cent) of the responsesof the naive subjects.the need to respondpublicly.The conditionsrequiredfor this effectto occur are the usage of a least as far as female subjects are concerned.But this factmustbe examinedmoreclosely.Our interpretation is. Asch's (1955) and Allen and Levine's (1968) experimentsgive much weightto thisinnovation. expressesinternal.we will limit a groupourselvesto Asch'sexperiments. only one single confederatein a group made up of seven or eight personshas to break the unanimityby givingcorrectanswersfor the numberof conformist responsesto drop to 10. ratherthan the strengthof social pressurewhich is more important. a groupof three unanimouspersonsis moreinfluential thana groupof eightnon-ununanimous to sayingthatit is the inter-personal persons.different. Thus. We knowthatin theseexperiments majoritycan induce a single individualto give answersgoing counterto perceptualevidence.And it clearlyappears that conformity is an effectof consistencyand not of dependencetowards the majorityof the group.intra-individual consistency.Thus.The increase to more than threehas therefore in the numberof confederates no effect of these there is no direct relationbetween on thefrequency responses.the sequence of "erroneousresponses.accordingto Asch (1962:497) gives rise to a propensityto adopt the erroneous"conformist" responsesof the group.the dissenterought to give the ." the identityof responsesof each confederatethrougha series of stimuli.5 per cent. Now.that by being consistenta minorityis capable of influencing a majorityat the level of verbal and perceptual responses.This is tantamount consistency of.and the presenceof a unanimousmajority. of course. resultsfromcoincidenceand identityof responseof several subjects to a given stimulus. GENERALITY OF THE BEHAVIORAL STYLE AS A SOURCE OF INFLUENCE. but first let us look to the data and theirmeaning.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 377 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The experiment whichwe have just describedshows.4 per cent or 5.We can considerthat unanimity to consistency in a groupcorresponds to inter-individual which consistency. and comes closestto accountingfor the variationin the rate of influence.They thoughtthatif social supportwas important in order to reduce conformist constraint. We have at the beginningof this articleput forwardthe idea that the consistencyof the behavioris a source of influencewhen a minorityis concernedand whenan innovationprocessis involved.At the same time. To substantiatethis conclusion. the magnitudeof this social pressureand conformity.

However.and "critical" trials in which the confederatesrea groupappearedall spondedin an "erroneous"manner.we can say that it is the behavioralstyle of a majorityor a minorityand not the pure amountof social pressurewhich is revealedto be at the originof influenceexerted.On the whole. we have the rightto say that the consistentminority. The resultsof the two experiments was sufficient show that it is lack of unanimousconsensuswhichis the decisivefactor.Asch responded used twotypesof trials:"neutral"trialsin whichthe confederates in a "correct"manner. responseswas observed(50 per cent.a dissenter'sdisagreement withthe subject'sprivatejudgment. whetheror not his variable. For example. between to distinguish at the code level. overtime-of theidentical ofintra-individual consistency Whatis theeffect repetitionof subjectsresponsesto a series of stimuli?As we know.8 per cent. influenceat the responselevel and influence in one experiment. 1/2.2 per cent) as the majoritybecame less coherentin time.On the was the critical in the case of unanimitywheregroupconsistency contrary. Thus. does not enable us to ascertainwhetherit is of a perceptiveor of a verbal nature (Goldiamond.when a Frenchmanvotes for the Gaullistparty he believes . 1969) with the notableexceptionof Flament (1958) reportinfluenceat the verbal level and not at the level of perception. in the normof the majority.36. with the group. Asch (1956) varied the proportionof the neutraltrialsin relationto the criticaltrials (1/6.given that most of the experiments in this field (Tajfel. CHANGE OF VERBAL AND PERCEPTUAL RESPONSES.26. a politicalpartyoftenadopts the ideas or the vocabularyof another Yet citizenscontinueto vote forthissame party.38.6 per cent. responseswerecorrectand in agreement to decreaseconformity.1958). 1/1.Our presentstateof knowledge is France the Gaullist in framingits own educationprogram.adopted part of the government the programproposedby studentsand workersin May 1968.and not only provokeda real modification in its response. the moreconsistentwithitselfwhen therewere more"critical"trialsthan "neutral"ones.378 SOCIOMETRY responsewhich the subjects privatelyconsideredto be correct. the resultswe have obtainedare all the moreremarkable. to respondto this party's slogans.whilenot negligibleat the conscioussocial level. If this phenomenonis rare in the is not in politicallife.consideringthe information we have at hand today. We have seen that the alterationof the answer.They oblige us betweena changein responseand a changein code. partyor social movement. and rhetoric Nevertheless. 4/1) and althoughthe difa decrease in the percentageof conformist ferenceswere not significant. at thelatentindividuallevel.Diachronistically. In thissense. Iscoe and Williams (1963) obtainedsimilarresults.

Indeed. and D.We mustbegin to exploremoresubtle mechanismsof influencethan those which are at work in direct and visible acceptanceof normsand judgmentsproposed. Readings in Social Psychology." Bulletin du Centre d'Etudes et RecherchesPsychologiques 16(Octobre-Decembre):337-360. and E. if we reallywant to understandthe processof social influence. J. Newcomb.while the majoritywould have more influenceon the individual'sverbal responsethan on his intellectualor perceptivecode."Sociometry31(June):138-149. Lenneberg 1958 "Studies in linguistic relativity. dissent and conformity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.R. 9-18 in Maccoby. all the while refusingto recognizethe value of psychoanalysis. ."Advances in ExperimentalSocial Psychology 2:133-175. and of innovais not enoughto studymorecarefullythe role of minorities tion. REFERENCES Allen. Levine "Social support. Eisinger. Mills 1968 "Perceptionof the sincerityand competenceof a communicatoras a function of the extremityof his position. Brown. E.New York: Holt. it Thus. S. theirdiscoveries."Journal of Personality 27(June) :352-361. Moscovid "Le style de comportementd'une minorit6et son influencesur les reponses 1967 d'une majorit6.V." Journalof ExperimentalSocial Psychology 4(April):224-232. L.)."ScientificAmerican 193 (November) :31-35. and S. 1958 Influence Sociale et Perception. C. Rinehart and Winston. 1965 "Situational factorsin conformity. C. Flament. W. Allen. withoutnecessarilyreceivingdirectrecognition fortheirinfluence. and Hartly (eds.INFLUENCE OF A CONSISTENT MINORITY 379 that he is "responding"to the same political body and in the same manneras he did in the past. Annie Psychologique 58(Fasdcule 2):378- 400. For example. Lipsher "Communicator-communicateediscrepancy and perceived communicator 1959 'trustworthiness'. Brehm. 1962 Social Psychology. Faucheux.Great innovatorshave succeededin imposing theirideas. M. This is an historicalreality. and J. it is conceivable that minoritiesare more capable of changingthe majority'scode than its social response. H." Pp. and J. W. V. 1955 "Opinions and social pressure.manypsychologists have assimilatednotions elaboratedby psychoanalysis. althoughboth it and its representatives have changedtheiropinionson very specificquestions. L. 1968 Asch. R.

IXth International Influence. Reading:AddisonWesley. Bistey as a functionof the numberand rangeof gen1964 "Stimulusgeneralization teststimuli. Congresof Psychology. and L. H. Moscovici. ofNebraskaPress. Levine (ed. Kelley.I. F. R. Worell. Centerof AdvancedStudyin BehavioralSciencesStrafford (Mimeo). Thomas. Social Psy1964 "Inducingresistance to persuasion. Pp. and M. S. and C." Aronson(eds.D. NebraskaSymposium Lincoln:University McGuire.S." OpticalSocietyof America51(October):1117-1121.) The Handbookof social psychology.Symposiumon Social London. Moscovici. and G. 1967 "Attribution theoryin socialpsychology.W.I.). . 315-394in Lindzeyand 1969 "Social and culturalfactorsin perception.H. III (2nd ed.S." 1963 "Experimental variablesaffecting the conformity JournalofPersonality 31(June):234-246. Malpasm Journalof the 1958 "Locus of hypnotically inducedchangesin colorresponses." on Motivation." eralization Psychology 68(December): Journalof Experimental 599-602. Iscoe.H. Tajfel.380 SOCIOMETRY GoIldimond.).J. Pp. Faucheux 1969 Social Influence. Vol. 1969 BehavioralStyle as a Source of Social Influence.Conformity Bias and the Study of ActiveMinorities." Advancesin Experimental chology1:191-229. of exposureto conflict. 192-241in D."Progressin Experimental 1967 "Some ramifications PersonalityResearch4:91-125. Williams behaviorof children.