Intergroup Relations and Majority or Minority Group Influence: William D. Crano and Vanessa Hemovich
The study of intergroup relations almost inevitably involves consideration of the relation between majority and minority groups, for it is rare that interacting groups share equal billing across all relevant comparison dimensions, and these differing dimensions often are materially involved in the definition of in-group and out-group, and majority or minority status. Though the linkage is obvious, research focused specifically on the association of intergroup relations with the majority and minority status of interacting groups is not nearly as common as might be expected, and this is unfortunate as each area has much to commend itself to the other (see Brewer & Weber, 1994; Wenzel, Mummendey, & Waldzus, 2007). In this review, we suggest some of the potential gains that may be realized by closer consideration of the integration of research insights drawn from the two areas, insights that would allow the advances of each field to enlighten the other. This integration is far from complete, as the requisite data for a full-blown amalgamation are unavailable; however, even the embryonic combinations suggested here will highlight some of the advances that may be made with closer consideration of the mutuality of research drawn from these two critical areas. The unwritten back story is that this integration may draw together research on social influence or persuasion concerned with group processes and intergroup interaction. As these foci are the defining aspects of the discipline, this integration would bode well for
the future of social psychology and its likely contributions to science and even, perhaps, to society at large.