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Group identification as a means of attitude restoration

AttitudesPersuasion
Clarkson, J.J., Smith, E.R., Tormala, Z.L., & Dugan, R.D (2017).
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 68, 139-145.

This paper investigates the possibility that individuals selectively identify with groups as a means of restoring certainty in their attitudes. Specifically, we contend that (i) groups offer social validation in the form of attitudinal norms, (ii) individuals heighten their identification with groups that offer norms that are consistent with attitudes that have been undermined, and (iii) access to these norms reduces attitude uncertainty. Two experiments support this hypothesis by demonstrating greater identification following a loss of attitude certainty, though only with groups offering relevant attitudinal norms. Moreover, this identification is subsequently shown to promote attitude restoration in the form of increased certainty. Consequently, groups serve an important role in attitude restoration by protecting attitudes against uncertainty when a relevant group is available to bolster the attitude.

Resisting persuasion by the skin of one's teeth: The hidden success of resisted persuasive messages.

AttitudesPersuasion
Tormala, Z.L., Clarkson, J.J., & Petty, R.E. (2006)
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 423-435.

Recent research has suggested that when people resist persuasion they can perceive this resistance and, under specifiable conditions, become more certain of their initial attitudes (e.g., Z. L. Tormala & R. E. Petty, 2002). Within the same metacognitive framework, the present research provides evidence for the opposite phenomenon—that is, when people resist persuasion, they sometimes become less certain of their initial attitudes. Four experiments demonstrate that when people perceive that they have done a poor job resisting persuasion (e.g., they believe they generated weak arguments against a persuasive message), they lose attitude certainty, show reduced attitude– behavioral intention correspondence, and become more vulnerable to subsequent persuasive attacks. These findings suggest that resisted persuasive attacks can sometimes have a hidden yet important success by reducing the strength of the target attitude.

A new look at the consequences of attitude certainty: The amplification hypothesis.

AttitudesPersuasion
Clarkson, J.J., Tormala, Z.L., & Rucker, D.D. (2008)
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 810-825.

It is well established that increasing attitude certainty makes attitudes more resistant to attack and more predictive of behavior. This finding has been interpreted as indicating that attitude certainty crystallizes attitudes, making them more durable and impactful. The current research challenges this crystallization hypothesis and proposes an amplification hypothesis, which suggests that instead of invariably strengthening an attitude, attitude certainty amplifies the dominant effect of the attitude on thought, judgment, and behavior. In 3 experiments, the authors test these competing hypotheses by comparing the effects of attitude certainty manipulations on univalent versus ambivalent attitudes. Across experiments, it is demonstrated that increasing attitude certainty strengthens attitudes (e.g., increases their resistance to persuasion) when attitudes are univalent but weakens attitudes (e.g., decreases their resistance to persuasion) when attitudes are ambivalent. These results are consistent with the amplification hypothesis.

Beyond attitude consensus: The social context of persuasion and resistance.

AttitudesPersuasion
Tormala, Z.L., DeSensi, V.D., Clarkson, J.J., & Rucker, D.D. (2009)
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 149-154.

The current research presents a new type of social context effect on attitude certainty. It is proposed that when people receive persuasive messages, they appraise their attitudes not only in terms of whether they are shared or not shared by others, but also in terms of whether they are based on similar or dissimilar assessments of the information presented. In two experiments, participants were presented with persuasive messages. In Experiment 1, they were induced to perceive that they responded favorably (persuasion) or unfavorably (resistance) to the message arguments. In Experiment 2, they were allowed to vary in their actual message responses. In both experiments, message response similarity—the degree to which people perceived that their evaluations of persuasive arguments were shared or unshared by others—moderated the classic effect of attitude similarity on attitude certainty. In particular, attitude similarity only affected attitude certainty under conditions of message response similarity. When message responses were believed to be dissimilar, attitude similarity had no effect on attitude certainty.

Does attitude certainty beget self-certainty?

AttitudesSelf-control
Clarkson, J.J., Tormala, Z.L., DeSensi, V.D., & Wheeler, S.C. (2009)
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 436-439.

This research explores the possibility that changes in attitude certainty can affect general self-certainty and, thus, have consequences that extend beyond the attitude domain. Across two studies, attitude certainty is manipulated using repeated attitude expression and attitude consensus paradigms. The implications of these manipulations are tested for feelings of general self-uncertainty (Study 1) and global selfdoubt about one’s abilities (Study 2). In each study, it is demonstrated that participants feel greater selfcertainty under conditions of high rather than low attitude certainty, but only when they view aspects of the attitude as central to their self-concept.

The effect of regulatory depletion on attitude certainty

AttitudesPersuasionSelf-control
Wan, E.W., Rucker, D.D., Tormala, Z.L., & Clarkson, J.J. (2010)
Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 531-541.

his research explores how regulatory depletion affects consumers’ responses to advertising. Initial forays into this area suggest that the depletion of self-regulatory resources is irrelevant when advertisement arguments are strong or consumers are highly motivated to process. In contrast to these conclusions, the authors contend that depletion has important but previously hidden effects in such contexts. That is, although attitudes are equivalent in valence and extremity, consumers are more certain of their attitudes when they form them under conditions of depletion than nondepletion. The authors propose that this effect occurs because feeling depleted induces the perception of having engaged in thorough information processing. As a consequence of greater attitude certainty, depleted consumers’ attitudes exert greater influence on their purchase behavior. Three experiments, using different products and ad exposure times, confirm these hypotheses. Experiment 3 demonstrates the potential to vary consumers’ naive beliefs about the relationship between depletion and thoroughness of processing, and this variation moderates the effect of depletion on attitude certainty. The authors discuss the theoretical contributions and implications for marketing.

Perceiving stability as a means to attitude certainty: The role of implicit theories of attitudes.

AttitudesPersuasion
Petrocelli, J.V., Clarkson, J.J., Tormala, Z.L., & Hendrix, K.S. (2010)
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 874-883.

This research introduces the concept of implicit theories of attitude stability. Across three studies, individuals are shown to vary both naturally and situationally in their lay theories about the stability of attitudes. Furthermore, these general theories are shown to impact people’s certainty in their specific attitudes by shaping their perceptions of the stability of the attitude under consideration. By affecting attitude certainty, implicit theories of attitude stability also influence the extent to which people rely on their attitude when committing to future attitude-relevant behavior. Moreover, following exposure to a persuasive attack, implicit theories are shown to interact with situational perceptions of attitude stability to determine attitude certainty. Collectively, these findings suggest that implicit theories of attitude stability have an important influence on people’s attitude certainty, subsequent behavioral intentions, and resistance to persuasive messages. Future directions concerning the potential impact of these theories for other attitudinal phenomena are discussed.

Does fast or slow evaluation foster greater certainty?

AttitudesPersuasion
Tormala, Z.L., Clarkson, J.J., & Henderson, M.D. (2011)
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 422-434.

This research investigates the effect of perceived evaluation duration—that is, the perceived time or speed with which one generates an evaluation—on attitude certainty. Integrating diverse findings from past research, the authors propose that perceiving either fast or slow evaluation can augment attitude certainty depending on specifiable factors. Across three studies, it is shown that when people express opinions, evaluate familiar objects, or typically trust their gut reactions, perceiving fast rather than slow evaluation generally promotes greater certainty. In contrast, when people form opinions, evaluate unfamiliar objects, or typically trust more thoughtful responses, perceiving slow rather than fast evaluation generally promotes greater certainty. Mediation analyses reveal that these effects stem from trade-offs between perceived rational thought and the perceived ease of retrieving an attitude. Implications for research on deliberative versus intuitive decision making are discussed.

Cognitive and affective matching effects in persuasion: An amplification perspective.

AttitudesPersuasion
Clarkson, J.J., Tormala, Z.L., & Rucker, D.D. (2011)
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1415-1427.

Past research suggests that cognitive and affective attitudes are more open to change toward cognitive and affective (i.e., matched) persuasive attacks, respectively. The present research investigates how attitude certainty influences this openness. Although an extensive literature suggests that certainty generally reduces an attitude’s openness to change, the authors explore the possibility that certainty might increase an attitude’s openness to change in the context of affective or cognitive appeals. Based on the recently proposed amplification hypothesis, the authors posit that high (vs. low) attitude certainty will boost the resistance of attitudes to mismatched attacks (e.g., affective attitudes attacked by cognitive messages) but boost the openness of attitudes to matched attacks (e.g., affective attitudes attacked by affective messages). Two experiments provide support for this hypothesis. Implications for increasing the openness of attitudes to both matched and mismatched attacks are discussed.