ERIC Number: ED285107
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-May-8
Reference Count: 0
The Attitude Heuristic and Selective Fact Identification.
Pratkanis, Anthony R.
The effects of attitudes on social memory have not been determined. Some studies have shown attitudes to serve as a heuristic for estimating an answer about past behavior. When an attitude heuristic is applied to recall of an event, "memory" will appear to be "superior," to the extent that the subject's inferences and constructions coincide with what actually happened. This study examined whether attitudes can lead to a selective identification of the facts of ambiguous, past events. College students (N=60) completed a Mass Medias Survey and a knowledge test consisting of 16 pairs of statements about famous personalities. For each pair of statements, subjects indicated which statement they believed to be true, rated their confidence in this judgment, gave their attitudes toward each of the 16 personalities, and rated each true statement on a desirability scale. The results demonstrated how the use of an attitude heuristic can produce selective construction of facts. Given favorable or unfavorable facts about liked or disliked personalities, subjects demonstrated a tendency to identify as true those events that were most consistent with their attitudes toward the personality. This resulted in a selective effect of attitude on memory. (Author/NB)
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 (59th, Chicago, IL, May 7-9, 1987).