Persistence of opinion change induced under conditions of forewarning and distraction

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Abstract

96 high school students participated in a study investigating the immediate and delayed effects of forewarning of persuasive intent. It was predicted that Ss would change less immediately after reading persuasive communications because the forewarning would serve as a discounting cue, but that over time they would tend to forget or dissociate this cue, thus allowing the full impact of the communication to emerge. The results strongly support this hypothesis. Exp II, involving 104 high school students, was conducted to replicate Exp I and extend the same reasoning to the case of distraction. Distraction was expected to facilitate immediate opinion change, presumably because of interference with counterarguments; but because of its detrimental effect on comprehension and a presumed tendency for Ss to think of opposing arguments after leaving the experimental situation, the change was expected to dissipate more rapidly than in the nondistracted conditions. The data confirm predictions regarding both forewarning and distraction. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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