chapter  4
Consensus as the key: Towards parsimony in explaining majority and minority in¯uence
ByHANS-PETER ERB AND GERD BOHNER
Pages 26

It is literally impossible to go through life without being in¯uenced by other people. Social in¯uence, in particular, is closely related to the number of those other people who express or advocate a particular view or position. Research has long been concerned with conformity as the psychological process to explain the in¯uence by a large number or majority of others (see Cialdini & Trost, 1998). Since Moscovici's work (e.g., Moscovici, Lage, & Naffrechoux, 1969) it has also been known that minorities who hold positions shared by only a few others can exert considerable in¯uence. The number of studies on majority and minority in¯uence is large, and they often provide con¯icting ®ndings. Moreover, comparisons between studies are dif®cult because the effects of majorities and minorities have been studied with multiple operationalizations (see Wood, Lundgren, Ouellette, Busceme, & Blackstone, 1994).