On the Representation of Strong and Weak Attitudes About Policy in Memory

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Abstract

A priming paradigm was used to explore the representation of attitudes about government policies in memory. Participants performed pairs of tasks in quick succession. The focal tasks involved evaluating a policy or thinking of one of its consequences. The results showed that thinking of a consequence of a policy speeded up its subsequent evaluation, regardless of whether the participant held a strong or weak attitude about the policy. Evaluating the policy speeded up thinking of one of its consequences for strong attitudes but not for weak ones. In general, it took participants longer to think of a consequence of a policy than to evaluate it. The implications of these results for existing views of the representation of attitudes in memory are discussed.

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