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Keywords:

  •  political attitudes;
  • assimilation and contrast effects;
  • ambivalence

The present study tested the degree to which attitudes about a political party would be influenced by the context in which the party leader was rendered cognitively accessible. A sample of British undergraduates evaluated Prime Minister Tony Blair before expressing their opinion about the Labour party. In one condition, the two items were structured such that Blair was expected to be included in participants’ representation of the party. In a second condition, the same items were structured such that Blair was expected to be excluded from participants’ representation of the party. The results supported the hypothesis that manipulating the context in which Blair was made salient would produce different effects on a subsequent judgment of the Labour party, but only among politically ambivalent respondents.