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Expectation States, Social Influence, and Affect Control: Opinion and Sentiment Change through Social Interaction

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-78560-077-7, eISBN: 978-1-78560-076-0

ISSN: 0882-6145

Publication date: 8 July 2015



The present research builds on three complementary theories to explore how social influence processes in interaction bring about opinion and sentiment change: expectation states theory, affect control theory, and social influence network theory.


An experimental study is used to test intersections between the theories and assess how performance expectations, affective impressions of group members, and emergent perceptions of their influence work together to generate opinion and sentiment change.


Respondent opinions shifted in the direction of group leaders’ opinions, regardless of behavioral interchange patterns. Opinion change was greater when a third group member shared the leader’s opinion. Change in affective impressions was shaped by the group leader’s opinion, the assertiveness of their behavior, and the support of a third group member. The perceived influence composition of the group predicted opinion and sentiment change, above and beyond the effects of conditional manipulations. Features of the group interaction led to inferences about status characteristics that reinforced the influence order of the group.

Research implications

The chapter tests hypotheses from earlier work and explores status signals not yet tested as predictors of opinion change – behavioral interchange patterns and the degree of support for one’s ideas. In addition, it examines inferences about status characteristics following the group discussion, and influence effects on the prevailing definition of the situation.


This chapter contributes to recent integrative work that explores the relationship between performance expectations, affective impressions, and social influence. Synergistic processes forwarded by earlier research are tested, along with several newly proposed linkages.




This chapter was made possible by a dissertation improvement grant awarded to Kimberly B. Rogers by the National Science Foundation (#1003419) and funding support from the Graduate School and the Department of Sociology at Duke University. Many thanks to Lynn Smith-Lovin, Linda K. George, Miller McPherson, Kenneth Spenner, Mark Leary, and several anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.


Rogers, K.B. (2015), "Expectation States, Social Influence, and Affect Control: Opinion and Sentiment Change through Social Interaction", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 65-98.



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