Special brown bag seminar by Dr. Joshua J. Clarkson on “Influencing Those Who Influence Us: The Role of Expertise in the Emergence of Minority Influence”

Speaker: Dr. Joshua J. Clarkson

Title: Influencing Those Who Influence Us: The Role of Expertise in the Emergence of Minority Influence

Date: Friday 7 July at 2:30pm 

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 


While consumers are often influenced by experts, consumers themselves can be experts—and, in such instances, it is important to understand who influences their decisions. That is, to whom do experts turn to for guidance in their own decisions? The present research proposes the rather paradoxical hypothesis that, while novices are more influenced by majority endorsements, experts are more influenced by minority endorsements. This hypothesis is based on the premise that majority endorsements match the preferences basis of novices—namely, what is prototypical and conventional. Conversely, minority endorsements match the preference basis of experts—namely, what is novel and innovative. As such, novices and experts are more confident in the option endorsed by the majority and minority endorsements, respectively, because these sources represent preferences that match their own. Importantly, however, this effect is bounded to domains where the criteria for evaluation are subjective and thus minority endorsement is considered favorable. Six experiments support this framework and, in doing so, offer novel insight into the role of social influence in impacting the decisions of experts. 


Dr. Joshua John Clarkson (Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Ph.D. in Marketing) is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Cincinnati. He specializes in the areas of persuasion and self-control. His research has been published in various journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and his findings have been featured in media outlets from business magazines and news articles to pop-psychology books and edited academic volumes. He has recently received the Early Career Award in Attitudes and Social Influence from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. 

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