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Previous research has shown that thinking about some attitude object results in more polarized attitudes than being distracted from thinking about the object. Perhaps this difference is due to thought producing additional cognitions consistent with the initial attitude direction. To test this hypothesis, 64 subjects indicated their attitudes toward fictitious persons described with either four or eight adjectives. After thinking about the person or being distracted from thinking about the person, they again scaled their attitude. Assuming that it is easier to add cognitions to the smaller initial set, the following was predicted and obtained: Opportunity for thought and initial set size interact in polarizing attitudes (p < 0.05); the difference between thought and distraction conditions is more pronounced with four cognitions (p < 0.01) than with eight cognitions (n.s.); and number of cognitions is negatively related to polarization under thought (0.10 < p < 0.05).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1975-01-01

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