Affective and Cognitive Meta-Bases of Attitudes: Unique Effects on Information Interest and Persuasion

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Abstract

The authors investigated the predictive utility of people's subjective assessments of whether their evaluations are affect- or cognition driven (i.e., meta-cognitive bases) as separate from whether people's attitudes are actually affect- or cognition based (i.e., structural bases). Study 1 demonstrated that meta-bases uniquely predict interest in affective versus cognitive information above and beyond structural bases and other related variables (i.e., need for cognition and need for affect). In Study 2, meta-bases were shown to account for unique variance in attitude change as a function of appeal type. Finally, Study 3 showed that as people became more deliberative in their judgments, meta-bases increased in predictive utility, and structural bases decreased in predictive utility. These findings support the existence of meta-bases of attitudes and demonstrate that meta-bases are distinguishable from structural bases in their predictive utility.

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