Resistance to persuasive messages as a function of majority and minority source status

Robin Martin, Miles Hewstone, Pearl Y. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three experiments examined the extent to which attitudes following majority and minority influence are resistant to counter-persuasion. In Experiment 1, participants’ attitudes were measured after being exposed to two messages which argued opposite positions (initial pro-attitudinal message and subsequent, counter-attitudinal counter-message). Attitudes following minority endorsement of the initial message were more resistant to a (second) counter-message than attitudes following majority endorsement of the initial message. Experiment 2 replicated this finding when the message direction was reversed (counter-attitudinal initial message and pro-attitudinal counter-message) and showed that the level of message elaboration mediated the amount of attitude resistance. Experiment 3 included conditions where participants received only the counter-message and showed that minority-source participants had resisted the second message (counter-message) rather than being influenced by it. These results show that minority influence induces systematic processing of its arguments which leads to attitudes which are resistant to counter-persuasion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-593
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


  • majority influence
  • minority influence
  • counter-persuasion
  • opposite positions
  • initial pro-attitudinal
  • message
  • counter-attitudinal
  • counter-message
  • attitudes
  • pro-attitudinal
  • message elaboration
  • attitude resistance
  • systematic
  • resistant to counter-persuasion


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