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Cognitive Interview

Cognitive Interview

Minority influence and social change

When considering the role of minorities in social change, it appears as if there are a number of steps which that minority may take in order to bring about change.

1. Drawing attention - initially, the minority group need to draw attention to the situation in order to raise awareness,

2. Consistency -  as already seen the minority group need to be consistent in their opinion in order to appear credible

3. Deeper processing - once they have drawn attention to the viewpoint, we know that the majority starts to process that opinion on a deeper level

4. The augmentation principal - this is where the minority appear to show their commitment by performing actions which are considered to be risky or dangerous. This once again makes people consider what they’re saying, as being more credible.

5. The snowball effect -  it is known that minorities slowly bring about change by getting a few people on board with the message and a few more and a few more until eventually, it becomes like a snowball. At this point, the minority group can become the majority

6. Social cryptoamnesia - many people can remember that things weren’t always that way, but they can’t remember exactly when that change came about. 


1. Research into minority groups and social change comes from Bashir et al (2013). They found that people often resist social change because they did not want to be associated with minority groups who they considered to be extreme in someway. For example, some environmental groups are seen as tree huggers, and this is seen as unattractive to the majority whom the minority want to change.

2. One limitation of minority influence is that sometimes it takes a long time to actually work. It has taken decades for attitudes to smoking and drink driving to change. Nemeth (1986) suggested that the effects of minority influence are likely to be in direct and delayed. 



Cognitive Interview Exam Questions

Cognitive Interview Mark Scheme

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