NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED084609
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1973-Nov
Pages: 36
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Effects of Equivocation and Negations on Message Perception and Source Credibility.
Williams, M. Lee
Frequently speakers confront hostile groups and audiences with opposite points of view. Public communicators faced with this dilemma can choose not to address the group or, in speaking, can avoid points of contention, but a third more subtle alternative used is deliberate ambiguity or vagueness, a rhetorical strategy known as equivocation. But do listeners perceive equivocation, and what effect does equivocation have, especially negatively worded sentences, on source credibility? More than 60 undergraduates at the University of Oklahoma were subjects in a test of this question. Results show that (1) listeners' prior attitudes determine if the message is interpreted as being vague; (2) no significant differences were found between (a) agreement with a message and the order of the equivocated and clearly stated issues as well as (b) all issues being stated positively or all issues being stated negatively; (3) source credibility is not significantly affected by order of presenting equivocated issues; and (4) there is greater recall if all the issues are presented positively. (DS)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A