Public influence reflects attitude change motivated by the need to attain social acceptance and occurs in the absence of corresponding change in private attitudes. It has been a topic of intrigue for decades to consumer psychologists due, in part, to the role of public influence in key phenomenon such as conformity, compliance, diffusion of responsibility, social roles, and persuasion. This chapter presents a detailed account of the dominant methodologies by which public influence has been studied. In particular, we explore the direct survey methods, situational manipulations, and dispositional variables that have been central to the study of public influence in consumer psychology. Additionally, we raise questions critical to the manner in which public influence is currently studied and speculate about new methodologies that address the reality of the evolving nature of public influence. Our hope is that this methodological review will not only serve as a reference for those interested in studying public influence but encourage future research to consider emerging methods to grow our understanding of public influence.


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