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STRUCTURE AND PROCESSING OF THE PERCEIVED ATTITUDES OF OTHERS: BEYOND “LIBERAL” AND “CONSERVATIVE”

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Button et al. (1993a) have recently proposed that a Liberal-Conservative dimension and a Traditional-Radical dimension underly people's perceptions and understanding of others' attitudes. The present study examined implications of this two-dimensional model for how people process attitudinal information. Subjects formed impressions of target persons whose attitudes varied inconsistency on one or both of the critical dimensions. On both dimensions, subjects took longer to assimilate inconsistent than consistent information. Compared to consistent attitudes, inconsistent ones were rated as fitting less well with subjects' overall impressions of the targets. In addition, comparisons of fit ratings given to particular attitude combinations provided support for Button's two-dimensional model and contradicted two alternative one-dimensional models. Possible connections between Button's model and those related to attitude activation, heuristic and systematic processing, and trait impressions are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 1995

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