Year of Publication

2016

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Leone

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Fuglestad

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick

Abstract

The mere thought effect is the tendency for favorable attitudes to become more favorable and unfavorable attitudes to become more unfavorable following thought (Tesser, 1978). Changes in belief-consistency and belief-confidence mediate this effect (Tesser, Martin, & Mendolia, 1995). However, there are self-monitoring differences in the extent to which people are driven by consistency in their beliefs (Fuglestad & Snyder, 2009; Snyder, 1974). It was predicted that mere-thought and self-monitoring will interactively influence attitude polarization. We also hypothesized that the interactive effects of mere-thought and self-monitoring on attitude polarization will be mediated by belief-consistency and belief-confidence. After indicating their initial attitudes about capital punishment, participants were randomly assigned to two different opportunities for thought (i.e., 60s or 180s condition) to list all beliefs about capital punishment. Participants independently responded to the 25-item Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder, 1974) and a measure on belief-confidence. As predicted, there was a marginally reliable significant interaction between mere-thought and self-monitoring. Low self-monitors compared to high self-monitors demonstrated more polarized attitudes when giving them more time to think about a target issue. As predicted, after controlling for belief-consistency and belief-confidence, the interaction between opportunity for thought and self-monitoring was attenuated. Limitations (i.e., problem with directionality, third variable problem, and threats to statistical validity) and suggestions for future research (i.e., conditions high self-monitors might exhibit more attitude polarization and exploring additional personality/situational moderators) were discussed.

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