ERIC Number: ED328815
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-May
Reference Count: N/A
Causal Information about AIDS: Effects on Long-term Beliefs and Behavioral Intentions.
Slusher, Morgan P.; Anderson, Craig A.
Research on belief perseverance has demonstrated that a belief persists to the extent that there are more explanations available to the believer to support the original belief than to support alternative beliefs. This study extends earlier work (Slusher, 1988) that demonstrated the role of explanation availability in mediating belief change. Introductory psychology students read causal or noncausal information indicating Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) cannot be spread by casual contact. Explanation availability and beliefs were assessed 3 weeks later, and subjects were given the opportunity to assist an AIDS charity to explore whether behaviors, in addition to beliefs, might be differentially affected by these distinct types of information. Results indicated causal information affected beliefs and behavioral intentions. Explanation availability mediated information's effect on beliefs. This study has clear implications for those attempting to change beliefs, including those responsible for AIDS education: causal information is more effective than noncausal information in affecting both long-term beliefs and behavioral intentions. Specifically, this study suggests that causal information plays a significant role in altering explanation availability; altering beliefs that rest upon the support of those explanations; and affecting behavioral tendencies based upon those beliefs. (ABL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (62nd, Chicago, IL, May 3-5, 1990).