Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Two experiments investigated the conditions under which majority and minority sources instigate systematic processing of their messages. Both experiments crossed source status (majority vs. minority) with message quality (strong vs. weak arguments). In each experiment, message elaboration was manipulated by varying either motivational (outcome relevance, Experiment 1) or cognitive (orientating tasks, Experiment 2) factors. The results showed that when either motivational or cognitive factors encouraged low message elaboration, there was heuristic acceptance of the majority position without detailed message processing. When the level of message elaboration was intermediate, there was message processing only for the minority source. Finally, when message elaboration was high, there was message processing for both source conditions. These results show that majority and minority influence is sensitive to motivational and cognitive factors that constrain or enhance message elaboration and that both sources can lead to systematic processing under specific circumstances.

Original publication




Journal article


Pers Soc Psychol Bull

Publication Date





43 - 56


Adult, Attitude, Cognition, Culture, Female, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Minority Groups, Motivation, Periodicity, Pilot Projects, Surveys and Questionnaires