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POLARIZATION OF RESPONSE AS A FUNCTION OF COGNITIVE TUNING SET AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES

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Abstract:

The present paper examines the thesis that the opportunity to think about an issue or object polarizes subjects' evaluation of that issue. Two variables hypothesized to affect the thought/polarization relationship were examined: the cognitive tuning set (Zajonc, 1960) given to the person prior to thinking, and individual differences in the ability to generate associations. It was hypothesized that an expectation to provide information to another would, by the required structuring of the material, induce more polarization with thought than would a set which induced an expectation to receive information. It was also hypothesized that subjects able to generate more associations would be less influenced by the tuning set. The data showed that thinking did not produce a polarization of evaluation compared with a distraction condition, contrary to hypothesis, but that the tuning sets enabled the subjects who were relatively more capable of generating associations to avoid depolarization after thought. For the less capable subjects, however, reception tuning aided polarization, contrary to hypothesis.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1981.9.2.213

Publication date: 1981-01-01

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