Inducing biased scanning in a group setting to change attitudes toward bilingualism and capital punishment

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Triads of 48 male and female Canadian high school students were assigned to debate either capital punishment or bilingualism. Teams were given 40 min to prepare their arguments. Half were told in advance which side of the argument they would be debating, and half were told they would be assigned at the end of their discussion. Scoring of the taped discussions confirmed that this manipulation produced biased scanning of arguments in the predetermined condition and unbiased scanning in the later-determined condition. A postmeasure of attitudes was administered either before or after the actual debate. Biased scanning led to significant attitude change in the predicted direction, and this effect was not influenced by time of presentation of the posttest. Results support the conflict theory of attitude change. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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