Prior research into self-persuasive effects has produced empirical propositions that address the communication process only in a very general way. While psychological formulations are helpful in generating constructs and propositions dealing with intrasource effects as a function of counterattitudinal advocacy, the generalizability of these findings appears limited. Berger's role enactment model of persuasion provides constructs and propositions that comport more exactly with practical communicative experiences. The present study tested the relationships obtaining among concepts crucial to the model. Results confirmed the prediction that role aptitude and task-relevant information were positively related to attitude change. The relationship among the role aptitude, information, and post-performance evaluation variables was not confirmed. The results and refinements of the model were discussed in terms of the potential the model has for more precise tests of communication effects. Message complexity, varying information levels, and other variables were discussed as amenable to tests employing the role enactment model.
While self-persuasion situations offer an appropriate paradigm in which to test general social psychology theories, there is some doubt as to the contribution such research can make to our understanding of communication. It is a question of “social significance.” Do sources frequently speak against their “true” attitudes? If so, do intra-source effects tell us much about communication between people? In short, can practical gains be achieved in counterattitudinal advocacy research? We believe that many of the processes associated with self-persuasion are similar to those which characterize interpersonal communication. These similarities are most obvious when one approaches communication research in the context of role theory. (1972, 260)