Distinguishing Between Silent and Vocal Minorities: Not All Deviants Feel Marginal

Distinguishing Between Silent and Vocal Minorities: Not All Deviants Feel Marginal

By
Kimberly Rios Morrison, Dale T. Miller
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. May
2008, Vol. 94, Issue 5, Pages 871-882

People’s opinions can deviate from that of the average group member in two ways. Descriptive deviants diverge from the average group attitude in a direction consistent with the desirable group attitude; prescriptive deviants diverge from the average group attitude in a direction inconsistent with the desirable group attitude. Three studies tested the hypothesis that descriptive deviants are more willing to express their opinions than either nondeviants or prescriptive deviants. Study 1 found that college students reported more comfort in expressing descriptive deviant opinions because descriptive deviance induced feelings of superior conformity (i.e., being “different but good”). Study 2 found that descriptive deviants reported more pride after expressing their opinions, were rated as more proud by an observer, and were more willing to publicize their opinions. Study 3 showed that political bumper stickers with descriptive deviant messages were displayed disproportionately more frequently than were those with prescriptive deviant messages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved))