ERIC Number: ED223978
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
Access to Attitude-Relevant Information in Memory as a Determinant of Persuasion: The Role of Message and Communicator Attributes.
Wood, Wendy; And Others
Research literature shows that people with access to attitude-relevant information in memory are able to draw on relevant beliefs and prior experiences when analyzing a persuasive message. This suggests that people who can retrieve little attitude-relevant information should be less able to engage in systematic processing. Two experiments were conducted with college students to test these ideas and to explore the relationship between retrieval and processing of message content. It was anticipated that the recipients would engage in a systematic processing strategy, actively attempting to comprehend, evaluate, and assess the validity of message arguments. Message positions judged to be valid on the basis of this analysis (messages delivered by expert sources or containing high quality arguments) were expected to be more persuasive than less valid ones (nonexpert sources or low quality arguments). Variation in cues that did not affect perceived message validity, such as source likability and message length were not expected to affect the recipients' opinions. It was further predicted that those who could retrieve little attitude-relevant information would follow a heuristic strategy, using simple decision rules to identify when the adovcated position was the correct one to take. They were expected to be more persuaded when the position was associated with positive source cues (likable, expert) or positive message cues (long, high quality) than when it was associated with negative ones. These predictions were generally obtained between extent of retrieval and the persuasiveness of message and source attributes. In addition, retrieval was found to enhance recipients' comprehension and elaboration of message content. (Author/HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (Minneapolis, MN, May 6-8, 1982).