Cognitive tuning set, source credibility, and the temporal persistence of attitude change

Karen M. Hennigan*, Thomas D. Cook, Charles L. Gruder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Tested the prediction that a transmitter cognitive tuning set confers more persistence of attitude change than a receiver set. 550 undergraduates read an essay with its source defined as high or low credibility and were told to prepare to report on it (transmit) or listen to a similar essay (receive). Persistence of attitude change was measured at 2, 5, or 9 wks. Consonant findings were obtained only when the persuasive message came from a source of low credibility. When the source was of high credibility, findings were reversed and the receiver set conferred more persistence. Exp II (104 Ss) examined the interpretation that, relative to the transmitter set, the receiver set leads to a stronger association between the conclusion of the message and its source and that it is this differential associative strength that mediated the obtained interaction between cognitive tuning sets and source credibility in Exp I. Exp II confirmed that message-source links were stronger with a receiver set than with a transmitter set. Additional data indicated that the transmitter set enhanced Ss' focus on the message and may have highlighted the inconsistency between the cogent message and the low-credibility source. Combined findings suggest that 2 cognitive processes mediated the obtained persistence results, one process based on the strength of the association between the source and message and the other based on the transmitter set sometimes enhancing involvement with a message. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-425
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1982


  • source credibility & cognitive tuning set of listening vs reporting on essay, persistence of attitude change, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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