Accessibility of affective versus cognitive components of attitudes



Four studies investigated differences in accessibility of affective and cognitive components of attitudes. Accessibility was measured by response times on bipolar semantic differential evaluative adjectives (e.g. ‘positive–negative’) in response to how one felt and thought, respectively, about an attitude object. The evaluative items were accompanied by affective and cognitive context items, which were not analysed, but were meant to promote the retrieval of affective and cognitive evaluations respectively. Responses to affective evaluations were given faster than responses to cognitive evaluations, suggesting that affect-based evaluations are more accessible in memory than cognition-based evaluations. The results were obtained in two attitude domains, i.e. brand names and countries. The results support the validity of a two-component affect–cognition model of attitude. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.