Momentum Effects in Discussions on Intellective Tasks: Comparing Informed and Non-Informed Groups

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Abstract

A probabilistic model of opinion change (PCD model, Crott, Werner, & Hoffmann, 1996) was applied to analyze the opinion formation process in five-person group discussions concerning intellective tasks. Control groups performed conventional face-to-face discussions, whereas an informational intervention (INFO) was applied in the experimental condition. Analyses performed in line with the PCD model examined the attraction of the correct answer, the size of the subgroups favoring each answer alternative, and a dynamic factor accounting for the possibility that, immediately subsequent to an individual's opinion change towards a particular alternative, the probability of additional opinion changes to that alternative is dynamically increased. In both conditions the model variants including the dynamic factor were able to adequately describe opinion formation. A stronger attracting influence of the correct answer was observed in the INFO condition compared to the control condition.

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