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The role of attitudinal ambivalence in susceptibility to consensus information

Hodson, Gordon, Maio, Gregory Richard ORCID: and Esses, Victoria M. 2001. The role of attitudinal ambivalence in susceptibility to consensus information. Basic and Applied Social Psychology 23 (3) , pp. 197-205. 10.1207/S15324834BASP2303_6

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The role of attitudinal ambivalence and 9 other attitude properties in determining responsiveness to consensus information were examined in this experiment. We expected attitude ambivalence, but not the other attitude properties, to moderate the effects of consensus information on final attitudes expressed. After completing initial measures of attitudes toward social welfare, participants watched a videotaped debate between a prosocial and an antisocial welfare debater. Participants then provided an initial evaluation of the debate, were exposed to debate evaluations from alleged fellow participants supporting either the prosocial or antisocial welfare debater, and reported their subsequent attitudes toward the debate and toward social welfare. As predicted, individuals who initially held ambivalent attitudes toward social welfare reported postconsensus welfare attitudes that were consistent with those of their supposed peers. Participants low in ambivalence reported attitudes contrary to the consensus information from peers. Similar effects were found only for 1 other attitude property, attitude embeddedness, and were reduced to nonsignificance when the effects of ambivalence and embeddedness were examined simultaneously. The role of attitudinal ambivalence in moderating responsiveness to consensus information is discussed in the context of media publication of poll results.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0197-3533
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 08:53

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