ERIC Number: ED048282
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Reference Count: N/A
An Experimental Study of the Effects of Authority-Based Assertion.
Whitehead, Jack Lindsay, Jr.
This study attempted to determine whether it is more effective for a speaker to cite sources of authority for any assertions he makes within a speech or whether he should simply assimilate the assertions into the text without citation. The subjects for the experiment (145 students in a basic college speech communications course) listened to two tape-recorded messages, one with authority-based assertions and one with authority-free assertions. Listeners were placed into high and low critical thinking categories. It was hypothesized that authority-based assertions would be more effective in changing attitudes than authority-free assertions, that speakers would be perceived as more credible when they employed authority-based assertions, and that the uses of evidence would be rated as more satisfactory under the "authority-based assertion" treatment. Findings indicated that (1) authority-based and authority-free assertions were equally effective in changing attitudes, (2) speakers were thought to be more credible when they employed authority-based assertions, (3) speakers were considered more trustworthy and objective when they cited sources of authority, and (4) listeners low in critical thinking ability perceived speakers as being more professional when authority-based assertions were employed. (Author/JM)
Descriptors: Audiences, Behavior Theories, College Students, Communication (Thought Transfer), Interaction, Persuasive Discourse, Public Speaking, Rhetoric, Rhetorical Criticism, Speech, Speech Communication, Speeches
University Microfilms, A Xerox Company, 300 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103 (Order No. 70-7518, MFilm $3.00, Xerography $5.80)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University