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COMM200 REFERENCE - Human Communication Research ISSN...

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE The Effects of Argument Quality and Involvement Type on Attitude Formation and Attitude Change: A Test of Dual-Process and Social Judgment Predictions Hee Sun Park, Timothy R. Levine, Catherine Y. Kingsley Westerman, Tierney Orfgen, & Sarah Foregger Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 Involvement has long been theoretically specified as a crucial factor determining the persuasive impact of messages. In social judgment theory, ego-involvement makes people more resistant to persuasion, whereas in dual-process models, high-involvement people are susceptible to persuasion when argument quality is high. It is argued that these disparate predictions might be reconciled by either different involvement types (i.e., value relevant vs. outcome relevant) or different attitude modification processes (i.e., attitude change vs. attitude formation). An experiment (N = 684) varying topic, position advocated, outcome relevance, and argument quality tested these moderators. The data were consistent with existence of two different types of involvement, but none of the theoretical predictions were consistent with the data. Instead, a main effect for argument quality had the largest impact on attitude change. Regardless of value- relevant involvement, outcome-relevant involvement, and attitude modification process, participants were more persuaded by high- rather than low-quality arguments, with boomerang effects observed for low-quality arguments. These findings highlight the importance of sound message design in persuasion. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2007.00290.x Theory, empirical evidence, and common sense hold that one of the most important factors affecting persuasion is involvement. Several theoretical perspectives with substantial empirical support specify ‘‘involvement’’ as a key individual difference that affects the success or failure of a persuasive attempt. In dual-process models, the degree of involvement is considered to be a primary factor influencing the type of processing used to assess incoming messages and to determine the extent to which Corresponding author: Hee Sun Park; e-mail: [email protected] An earlier version of the paper was presented at the 2004 annual convention of National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. Human Communication Research ISSN 0360-3989 Human Communication Research 33 (2007) 81–102 ª 2007 International Communication Association 81
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a message might be persuasive (e.g., Chaiken, Liberman, & Eagly, 1989; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986a). Alternatively, in social judgment theory (SJT) (Sherif, Sherif, & Nebergall, 1965), involvement is posited to have a main effect on attitude change such that the more involved a person is with an issue, the more that person will resist attitude change. This article attempts to reconcile dual-process and social judgment differences by testing two plausible moderators: involvement type (value relevant vs.
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COMM200 REFERENCE - Human Communication Research ISSN...

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