Self-referencing, quality of argument, and persuasion
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This research examines whether self-referencing and self-attention facilitate careful examination of a message, referred to as systematic processing. In Experiment 1, undergraduates (n=158) who were induced to be either high or low in self-referencing read either a strong or a weak two-sided article that discussed tuition increases. Contrary to predictions, low self-referencing participants agreed more with increasing tuition than high self-referencing participants. Participants who read strong versus weak arguments agreed more with increasing tuition. In Experiment 2 undergraduates (n=204) who were either high or low in self-attention and either high or low in self-referencing read either a strong or weak two-sided article that discussed tuition increases. Consistent with predictions, participants who were either high in self-attention or high in self-referencing were more persuaded by strong than weak arguments. Specifically, both high self-attention, low self-referencing participants and low self-attention, high self-referencing participants were significantly more persuaded by strong than weak arguments. There was a trend for high self-attention, high self-referencing participants to be more persuaded by strong than weak arguments. There were no argument quality effects for low self-attention low self-referencing participants. The results of these two studies suggest that both self-referencing and self-attention facilitate systematic processing.
KeywordsStrong Argument Current Psychology Social Psychology Bulletin Weak Attitude Message Processing
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