Skip to main content
Hesitation in communication : does minority status delay responses?
Asian Journal of Social Psychology
  • Wai Lan, Vicki YEUNG, Lingnan University, Hong Kon
  • Yee Man, Ivy LAU, Singapore Management University, Singapore
  • Chi Yue CHIU, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
  • comprehension,
  • inhibition process,
  • minority-slowness effect,
  • utterance directness

Past studies indicated that people in a minority (vs. majority) position are slower to express their public/political opinion, and the larger the difference between the size of the two positions, the slower the response. Bassili termed this the minority- slowness effect (MSE). In the current study, two experiments were conducted to demonstrate that MSE extends to people's understanding of utterances and explored the cognitive basis for this. Participants were asked to judge if an utterance is a ` direct' or an ` indirect' expression. The results show that participants in the minority (vs. majority) took longer to respond, and the larger the difference between the size of majority and minority, the longer the response latency (Study 1a). Furthermore, participants were aware of their own minority position (Study 1b). In Study 2, when participants were deprived of cognitive resources, MSE disappeared, presumably because participants lack the cognitive resources required to conform to utterance interpretation as favoured by the majority.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2013 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd with the Asian Association of Social Psychology and the Japanese Group Dynamics Association

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Yeung, V. W. L., Lau, I. Y. M., & Chiu, C. Y. (2013). Hesitation in communication: Does minority status delay responses? Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 16(3), 238-248. doi: 10.1111/ajsp.12028