The Impact of Attitudes on Memory: An Affair to Remember

Alice H. Eagly*, Serena Chen, Shelly Chaiken, Kelly Shaw-Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Many theories of the effects of attitudes on memory for attitude-relevant information would predict that attitudinally congenial information should be more memorable than uncongenial information. Yet, this meta-analysis showed that this congeniality effect is inconsistent across the experiments in this research literature and small when these effects are aggregated. The tendency of the congeniality effect to decrease over the years spanned by this literature appeared to reflect the weaker methods used in the earlier studies. The effect was stronger in 2 kinds of earlier experiments that may be tinged with artifact: those in which the coding of recall measures was not known to be blind and those that used recognition measures that were not corrected for bias. Nonetheless, several additional characteristics of the studies moderated the congeniality effect and suggested that both attitude structure and motivation to process attitude-relevant information are relevant to understanding the conditions under which people have superior memory for attitudinally congenial or uncongenial information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-89
Number of pages26
JournalPsychological bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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