Self-esteem, communicator characteristics, and attitude change

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Characteristic defenses were predicted to cause different Ss to resist influence from different kinds of persuasive communications. In a 3-way factorial design, 88 Ss representing high and low self-esteem were exposed to optimistic and pessimistic communications from communicators who were portrayed as “copers” or “noncopers.” Optimism-pessimism unexpectedly produced no effect. However, characteristics of the communicator interacted with characteristics of Ss in producing attitude change. High-esteem Ss were influenced more by the coper and low-esteem Ss by the noncoper, even though all Ss evaluated the noncoper unfavorably. Further investigation indicated that Ss high and low in self-esteem were themselves copers and noncopers, respectively. Ss appeared to accept persuasive influence from the communicator more comparable to themselves, regardless of how they consciously felt toward him. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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