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2009-02-01 Flache, Prof.dr. A. (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen); Takács, dr. K. (Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Mäs, dr. M. (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) 10.17026/dans-xjz-p8rk
Both classical social psychological theories and recent formal models of opinion differentiation and bi-polarization assign a prominent role to negative social influence. Negative influence is defined as shifts away from the opinion of others and hypothesized to be induced by dissimilarity to discrepancy with or disliking of the source of influence. There is strong empirical evidence support for the presence of positive social influence (a shift towards the opinion of others), but evidence that large opinion differences or disliking could trigger negative shifts is mixed. We examines positive and negative influence in two experiments involving controlled dyadic communications . Results confirm that similarities induce attraction, but no support is found that dissimilarities discrepancy or disliking would entail negative influence. Instead, our findings suggest a robust positive linear relationship between opinion distance and opinion shifts.