Unpacking attitude certainty: Attitude clarity and attitude correctness

John V. Petrocelli, Zakary L. Tormala*, Derek D. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


Attitude certainty has been the subject of considerable attention in the attitudes and persuasion literature. The present research identifies 2 aspects of attitude certainty and provides evidence for the distinctness of the constructs. Specifically, it is proposed that attitude certainty can be conceptualized, and empirically separated, in terms of attitude clarity (the subjective sense that one knows what one's attitude is) and attitude correctness (the subjective sense that one's attitude is correct or valid). Experiment 1 uses factor analysis and correlational data to provide evidence for viewing attitude clarity and attitude correctness as separate constructs. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrate that attitude clarity and attitude correctness can have distinct antecedents (repeated expression and consensus feedback, respectively). Experiment 4 reveals that these constructs each play an independent role in persuasion and resistance situations. As clarity and correctness increase, attitudes become more resistant to counterattitudinal persuasive messages. These findings are discussed in relation to the existing attitude strength literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-41
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Attitude strength
  • Attitudes
  • Certainty
  • Clarity
  • Correctness
  • Counterattitudinal persuasive messages
  • Metacognition
  • Persuasion
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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