C. de Dreu
N.K. de Vries
- Convergent and divergent processing of majority and minority arguments: effects on focal and related attitudes
- European Journal of Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 29 | 2-3
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This research concerned attitude change towards a majority or minority position as a function of convergent and divergent message processing. Results of a 2 (majority/minority support for persuasive arguments)×3(convergent/divergent/no-processing instructions) experiment showed that recipients identified more with a majority rather than minority, and identification was positively correlated with attitudes on the focal, but not the related issue. More importantly, results showed that in the no-processing condition, counter-attitudinal majority arguments produced more positive attitudes on the focal rather than related issue; minority arguments had no effects on either issue. A similar pattern emerged under convergent processing: majority support produced more positive attitudes on focal than related issues, while minority support had no effect on either issue. Divergent processing instructions, finally, produced more positive attitudes on the related issue than on the focal issue, especially in the case of minority support. Unexpectedly, majority arguments under divergent processing had no effect on focal or related attitudes whatsoever. Overall, results support the conclusion that majority arguments affect attitudes on focal issues more than on related issues because of convergent message processing, while minority arguments affect attitudes on related issues more than on focal issues because of divergent message processing and a desire to avoid identification with the source.
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