Social Change.


Social change occurs when a society as a whole adopts a new belief or way of behaving which then becomes widely accepted as the 'norm'. Research on social influence can provide us with valuable insights into how society might change. Social change usually coms about when a majority group exert social pressure and therefore bring about a social change.


Most social change comes about because a minority influence. This is where an individual or small group manage to change the actions of larger groups. Moscovici did a study to show how this could happen.

  • Groups of 6 people were brought together with 4 real participants and 2 confederates in each group.
  • They were shown a series of 36 slides of different shades of blue and asked to name aloud the colour of the slide.
  • In condition one, the confederates consistently said all 36 slides were green - just over 8% of the real participants conformed to the minority position and also said the slides were green. 
  • In condition 2, the confederates called 24 out of the 36 slides green and the conformity to this answer was 1.25%.
  • This study strongly suggests that minorities should be consistent in order to exert an influence.
  • All female.

So Moscovici shows how a minority can bring about a social change, the majority changed their minds to conform to the minority.

Evaluation:  Lacks mundane realism/ecological validity. Gender bias - can't generalise the findings. Internal validity.

What can minorities do to create a social change??

  • Change their behavioural style. The behavioural style of influential minority has four main components.
    • 1) They are consistent.
    • 2) They are certain of their proposed ideas.
    • 3) They appear objective and unbiased.
    • 4) They…


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