Dynamic reactions to opinion deviance: The role of social identity formation

Lise Jans*, Namkje Koudenburg, Jeremy Dillmann, Lisanne Wichgers, Tom Postmes, Ruud J. R. den Hartigh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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When someone expresses a morally deviant opinion, this person is likely to face derogation by their group. We examined whether people reacted more positively to opinion deviance when social identity was induced from individual expressions, rather than deduced from ingroup similarities. Participants (n = 155 divided over 41 groups) engaged in small-group conversations. We manipulated social identity formation (induction vs. deduction) and the presence of deviance (vs. agreement), without using confederates. We directly compared reactions to opinion deviance for both normative positions (i.e., for the deviant and the normative group members). Questionnaires assessed group-members' belongingness and personal value to the group. Innovatively, we also tracked moment-to moment levels of belongingness throughout the conversation. We tested whether the responses of the deviant compared to normative group members differed depending on social identity formation. Overall, deviants experienced lower belongingness after opinion deviance than normative group members. However, the trajectories over time suggest that deviants began to recover their belongingness in inductively formed groups, but not in deductively formed groups. Furthermore, in inductively formed groups deviants were perceived to be more valuable to the group, than they were in deductively formed groups. Exploratory analyses on the effect of social identity formation on normative group members' trajectories of belongingness further suggest that being normative may be particularly beneficial when social identity is deduced. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical implications and the value of dynamic tracking as a methodology to examine small group processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103803
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2019


  • Belongingness
  • Dynamical approach
  • Minority influence
  • Moral deviance
  • Mouse paradigm
  • Opinion deviance
  • Rejection
  • Social identity formation
  • US

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