Three experiments were designed to clarify the mechanisms underlying Eagly, Chen, Chaiken, and Shaw-Barnes's (1999) meta-analytic demonstration that attitudinally congenial information has typically not been more memorable than uncongenial information. Participants remembered congenial and uncongenial messages equally well, despite their disapproval of the uncongenial information. This null congeniality effect was obtained regardless of whether (a) messages pertained to abortion or gays in the military or presented information on both sides or only one side of the issue; (b) recognition or recall measures were administered soon after the message or 2 weeks later; and (c) participants were or were not activists on the issue, had stronger or weaker attitudes, had more prior knowledge of counterattitudinal (vs. proattitudinal) arguments, or did or did not have their attention constrained to the message. Process findings suggested that participants' thoughtful counterarguing of the uncongenial messages enhanced their memory for them.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology