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The effect of cognitive activity on attitude change and attitude stability

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Item Summary

Title:The effect of cognitive activity on attitude change and attitude stability
Authors:Stephenson, Stanley D.
Keywords:Attitude (Psychology)
Persuasion (Psychology)
Abortion -- Psychological aspects
Date Issued:1974
Abstract:The prevailing feeling in the attitude change field is that attitude change is to be expected and that attitude stability is atypical. Yet daily observation reveals just the opposite; people tend to remain consistent in their attitudes with little or no change. This study investigated attitude change and stability in relation to the cognitive processes that occur during a persuasive communication situation. From a broad review of the literature eight specific predictions were made concerning cognitive activity, the affective states experienced during a persuasive message, and the relationship of unrelated-to-the-topic thoughts to attitude change and stability. 72 college females listened to a radio talk show which contained varied amounts of either pro- or counterattitudinal information on the topic of abortion. Ss then listed all of the thoughts they were having during the presentation and also completed traditional attitude scales on the topic. Ss were re-tested two weeks later. Results generally confirmed the hypotheses. Ss' cognitive activity and attitudes varied with the amount of material received, the direction of the message, and their ego-involvement. Ss receiving counterattitudinal information tended to boomerang in the first experimental session only to return to a more moderate position two weeks later. In general Ss receiving counterattitudinal information presented a more integrated cognitive pattern; i.e., their related and unrelated thoughts were correlated. Although not hypothesized, the results supported Sherif's Ego-Involvement model of attitude change. The results were discussed in relation to how individuals process attitudinal information and in relation to future research both in terms of the methodology used and the study's implications.
Description:Photocopy of typescript.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1974.
Bibliography: leaves 131-137.
vii, 137 leaves ill
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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