Why counterattitudinal messages are as memorable as proattitudinal messages: The importance of active defense against attack

Alice H. Eagly*, Patrick Kulesa, Laura A. Brannon, Kelly Shaw, Sarah Hutson-Comeaux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1408
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume26
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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