Social influence: The role of originality

Angelica Mucchi‐Faina, Anne Maass, Chiara Volpato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments investigated the role of message originality vs. conventionality in social influence. It was hypothesized that subjects would generate more original proposals when confronted with a minority advocating an original viewpoint than when confronted with a conventional minority proposal or with an original majority proposal. In the first experiment, subjects exposed to an original minority paired with a conventional majority produced a wider range and more original proposals than those exposed either to a conventional minority paired with a conventional majority or to a majority source only. The second experiment further demonstrated that the original message induced creative processing only when attributed to a minority source but not when attributed to a majority source. It also showed that the original minority elicited creative processing mainly when paired with a conventional majority, but not when paired with a majority advocating an equally original position. Findings are interpreted in the frame of Nemeth's (1986) minority influence theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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