Perceived Knowledge Moderates the Relation Between Subjective Ambivalence and the “Impact” of Attitudes: An Attitude Strength Perspective

Laura E. Wallace*, Kathleen M. Patton, Andrew Luttrell, Vanessa Sawicki, Leandre R. Fabrigar, Jacob Teeny, Tara K. MacDonald, Richard E. Petty, Duane T. Wegener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous work has reliably demonstrated that when people experience more subjective ambivalence about an attitude object, their attitudes have less impact on strength-related outcomes such as attitude-related thinking, judging, or behaving. However, previous research has not considered whether the amount of perceived knowledge a person has about the topic might moderate these effects. Across eight studies on different topics using a variety of outcome measures, the current research demonstrates that perceived knowledge can moderate the relation between ambivalence and the impact of attitudes on related thinking, judging, and behaving. Although the typical Attitude × Ambivalence effect emerged when participants had relatively high perceived knowledge, this interaction did not emerge when participants were lower in perceived knowledge. This work provides a more nuanced view of the effects of subjective ambivalence on attitude impact and highlights the importance of understanding the combined impact of attitude strength antecedents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-722
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ambivalence
  • attitude strength
  • knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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