Numerical support, information processing and attitude change

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Abstract

In two experiments we studied the prediction that majority support induces stronger convergent processing than minority support for a persuasive message, the more so when recipients are explicitly forced to pay attention to the source's point of view; this in turn affects the amount of attitude change on related issues. Convergent processing is the systematic elaboration on the sources position, but with a stronger focus on verification and justification rather than falsification. In Experiment 1 it was found that numerical support is related to information processing as predicted: The greater the support, the more convergent the processing. Experiment 2 replicated this result, and furthermore confirmed our expectations regarding attitude change: The more convergent processing occurs, the less subjects change their attitude on related issues.

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