Resistance to persuasive messages as a function of majority and minority source status
Martin R., Hewstone M., Martin PY.
Three experiments examined the extent to which attitudes following majority and minority influence are resistant to counter-persuasion. In Experiment 1, participants' attitudes were measured after being exposed to two messages which argued opposite positions (initial pro-attitudinal message and subsequent, counter-attitudinal counter-message). Attitudes following minority endorsement of the initial message were more resistant to a (second) counter-message than attitudes following majority endorsement of the initial message. Experiment 2 replicated this finding when the message direction was reversed (counter-attitudinal initial message and pro-attitudinal counter-message) and showed that the level of message elaboration mediated the amount of attitude resistance. Experiment 3 included conditions where participants received only the counter-message and showed that minority-source participants had resisted the second message (counter-message) rather than being influenced by it. These results show that minority influence induces systematic processing of its arguments which leads to attitudes which are resistant to counter-persuasion. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.