• Moscovici et al. (1969) Influence of a Consistent Minority on the Responses of a Majority in a Color Perception Task.


Moscovici et al. (1969) studied the influence of a consistent minority on the responses of a majority in a colour perception task. The experiment found that a consistent minority can have a significant impact on the opinions and behaviour of a majority, even when the minority is outnumbered. The findings showed that the minority’s influence increased when the majority was uncertain or ambivalent about their own opinions. The study has important implications for understanding how social influence operates in group dynamics and decision-making.


  • Moscovici et al. (1969) controlled for extraneous variables such as lighting levels which may affect judgement of colour so the results were a more reliable measure of minority influence being the cause of decision making.
  • All participants were offered a free eye test to establish good eyesight for example, whether they were colour- blind or not. Using standardised controls like testing for colour-blindness reduces extraneous variables that may have affected participants’ ability to complete the colour perception task.
  • Participants in their groups of six were asked to estimate the colour of 36 slides – all the slides were blue, but of differing shades. Participants were randomly allocated into one of the three conditions of the experiment on minority influence which reduced experimenter bias.
  • Moscovici et al.’s (1969) conclusion that a consistent minority can influence a majority has supporting evidence from Wood et al. (1994) whose meta-analysis with 97 studies found that minorities perceived to be consistent were influential in changing the views of the majority.
  • A biased sample of 172 American female participants were used in total with each condition consisting of six participants; four naïve participants (the majority), and two confederates (the minority). The sample used is not generalisable to those who are not female or American as others may not respond in the same way to a minority influence.
  • Moscovici et al. (1969) used a laboratory experiment in which participants were randomly allocated to either a consistent, inconsistent or control condition. Moscovici et al.’s (1969) laboratory environment is artificial therefore having low ecological validity as it lacked the atmosphere of real-life situations in which minorities like pressure groups have influence over a majority.
  • Moscovici et al. (1969) deceived his participants informing them that the experiment involved a colour perception test, although unethical Moscovici’s argument was that demand characteristics may have affected their ability to get valid results.

Past Paper Questions

2 Markers
  • State two results of Moscovici et al.’s (1969) study. (2) October 2017
  • Suggest one improvement that could be made to Moscovici et al.’s (1969) study. (2) October 2017
4 Markers
  • Describe the procedure used in Moscovici et al.’s (1969) study. (4) June 2018
  • Explain one strength and one weakness of Moscovici et al.’s (1969) study. (4) June 2018
8 Markers
  • Assess Moscovici’s (1976) theory that a minority can socially influence groups. (8)
  • Evaluate the classic study by Moscovici et al. (1969). (8) January 2020
12 Marker
  • Evaluate the classic study by Moscovici et al. (1969). (12) January 2019