Although individuals are often influenced by experts, individuals themselves can be experts—and, in such instances, it is important to understand who influences their attitudes. That is, to whom do experts turn to for guidance when considering their own preferences? The present research proposes that, while novices are more influenced by majority endorsements, experts are more influenced by minority endorsements. This hypothesis is based on the premise that novices and experts perceive the reasons for their preferences to be similar to majority and minority groups, respectively (i.e., basis similarity). Specifically, experts perceive minority opinion to be based on innovation, whereas novices perceive majority opinion to be based on convention. Of importance, this effect is strongest in domains where the criteria for evaluation are subjective and non-normative opinion is difficult to invalidate. Four experiments support this framework and, in doing so, offer novel insight into the impact of expertise on the emergence of minority influence.


No posts