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Memorable messages as guides to self-assessment of behavior: the role of instrumental values

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Respondents were asked to recall (a) their own behaviors that either exceeded or violated their personal expectations for themselves, and (b) memorable messages associated with the behaviors yielding a matrix of classes of behavior and types of memorable messages. Control theory predicts that self-assessment of prior behavior involves comparison with internal principles that come from memorable messages. Control theory also posits that internal principles should be subordinate to the highest level of reference values called the system concept that should reflect important instrumental values. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed on 18 3-item subscales measuring Rokeach's Instrumental Values. Four higher order factors were the result of another CFA on the set of 18 subscales. While none of the four higher order value factors predicted hypothesized relationships among values, messages, and behaviors, the value of Responsibility was found to be a significant predictor of patterns in the matrix of behavior by memorable messages.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, Michigan State University 2: Department of Communication, Western Michigan University

Publication date: December 1, 2001


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