AN EMPIRICAL TEST OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF EVIDENCE TO BELIEF SYSTEMS AND ATTITUDE CHANGE

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Abstract

Though rhetorical theories clearly prescribe the function of evidence in forming individual beliefs, communication research aimed at testing the empirical validity of such prescriptions has been inconclusive. Because of questions surrounding the conceptual and operational adequacy of previous research in this area, this inquiry sought to: first, critically examine the existing theory and research surrounding the evidence-attitude change relationship; second, reformulate existing theory based on the critique; third, test the empirical validity of the theoretical reformulation; and finally, discuss the implications of this research to theory and subsequent research.

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