Are Some Attitudes More Self-Defining Than Others? Assessing Self-Related Attitude Functions and Their Consequences

Peter V. Zunick, Jacob D. Teeny, Russell H. Fazio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attitudes serve multiple functions, some related to the self-concept. We call attitudes that help people define who they are “self-defining.” Across four studies, we tested a brief self-report measure of the extent to which an attitude is self-defining. Studies 1 and 2 showed that self-defining attitudes tend to be extreme, positive, and unambivalent. Studies 3 and 4 produced two main findings. First, self-definition was related to, but not redundant with, a number of other characteristics of the attitude (e.g., attitude certainty). Second, self-definition predicted participants’ intentions to spontaneously advocate and, in Study 4, their reactions to an opportunity to advocate behaviorally (i.e., writing about their attitude in an optional response box) following a self-threat. Overall, the results highlight the utility of this approach and, more broadly, demonstrate the value of considering the role of the self in attitudinal processes, and vice versa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1136-1149
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume43
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • advocacy
  • attitude functions
  • attitudes
  • identity
  • self-concept

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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