Minority influence and optimal problem-solving

Robin Martin, Miles Hewstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An analogous thinking task was used to test Nemeth's Convergent–Divergent theory of majority and minority influence. Participants read a (base) problem and one of three solutions (one of which is considered the ‘best' solution). They then generated solutions to a second (target) problem which shared similar structural features to the first problem. Due to the similarities between problems, the solution given to the first problem can be used as an analogy in solving the second. In contrast to Nemeth's theory, when the solution to the base problem was endorsed by a numerical majority there was not an increase in analogy-transfer in solving the target problem. However, in support of Nemeth's theory, when the base solution was supported by a numerical minority then the participants were more likely to generate the ‘best' solution to the target problem regardless of which base solution they were given. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-832
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number5-6
Early online date21 Jun 1999
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'Minority influence and optimal problem-solving'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this